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Behrens, Peter  

Iain Boyd Whyte

(b Hamburg, April 14, 1868; d Berlin, Feb 27, 1940).

German architect, designer and painter. Progressing from painting and graphics to product design and architecture, Behrens achieved his greatest successes with his work for the Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft (AEG), in which he reconciled the Prussian Classicist tradition with the demands of industrial fabrication.

After attending the Realgymnasium in Altona, he began his painting studies in 1886 at the Kunstakademie in Karlsruhe. From there he moved to Düsseldorf, where he studied with Ferdinand Brütt. In December 1889 Behrens married Lilli Krämer, and the following year the couple moved to Munich, where he continued his studies with Hugo Kotschenreiter (1854–1908). Behrens was one of the founder-members of the Munich Secession (see Secession, §1) in 1893 and, shortly afterwards, a founder of the more progressive Freie Vereinigung Münchener Künstler, with Otto Eckmann, Max Slevogt, Wilhelm Trübner and Lovis Corinth. He also joined the circle associated with the magazine Pan, which included Otto Julius Bierbaum, Julius Meier-Graefe, Franz Blei, Richard Dehmel and Otto Eckmann....

Article

Poelzig, Hans  

Michael Spens

(b Berlin, April 30, 1869; d Berlin, June 14, 1936).

German architect, designer and teacher. He was the father-figure of the Expressionist group of the Deutscher Werkbund, his vision and practical genius representing a link between the English Arts and Crafts Movement and later stages of Jugendstil and the fervour of the emerging Modern Movement after World War I. Poelzig studied architecture (1889–94) at the Technische Hochschule, Berlin, under Carl Schäfer, a neo-Gothicist. After military service and a period in the Prussian Office of Works, he left Berlin in 1900 to take a teaching post in the Königliche Kunst- und Kunstgewerbeschule, Breslau (now Wrocław), becoming its director from 1903 to 1916. There he introduced workshop-based courses that influenced the later teaching policy of Walter Gropius at the Bauhaus. Poelzig’s early buildings included two houses, one at an exhibition of applied art (1904) in Breslau and his own house (1906) at Leerbeutel, near Breslau. Both are examples of the influence in Germany at that time of English Arts and Crafts houses. Rough-cast rendering divided into rectilinear panels by smooth bands characterized his own house and also appeared in his evangelical church (...