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Article

Aublet, Félix Tahar Marie  

French, 20th century, male.

Born February 1903, in Tunis; died 24 January 1978, in Aix-en-Provence.

Painter, architect, decorative designer, designer, poster artist. Wall decorations, stage costumes and sets, furniture, advertising art.

Art et Lumière.

Félix Tahar Marie Aublet was the son of the Orientalist painter Albert Aublet. He was brought up both in Neuilly, France, and in a Moorish palace in Tunis, where the family spent six months of the year. His second forename, Tahar, means 'blessed one' in Arabic. In ...

Article

Behrens, Peter  

German, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 14 April 1868, in Hamburg; died 27 February 1940, in Berlin.

Painter, draughtsman, engraver, architect, designer, decorative artist, graphic designer. Posters, furniture, wallpaper, carpets, glassware, ceramics, table services, jewellery, silverwork, objets d'art, typefaces.

Jugendstil, functional school.

Die Sieben (Group of Seven), Deutscher Werkbund...

Article

Bell, Vanessa  

British, 20th century, female.

Born 13 May 1879, near London; died 7 April 1961, in Sussex.

Painter, engraver, illustrator, designer, graphic designer. Still-lifes, landscapes, portraits. Designs for wallpapers and fabrics, furniture, stage sets.

Bloomsbury Group, Omega Workshops, London Group, Euston Road School.

Vanessa Bell was the daughter of Sir Leslie Stephen, the sister of Virginia Woolf and the wife of the art historian Clive Bell. She started her training with the Royal Academician Sir Arthur Cope, and continued it at the Royal Academy of Art under the direction of the American portrait painter John Singer Sargent between 1900 and 1904....

Article

Deskey, Donald  

revised by Margaret Barlow

(b Blue Earth, MN, Nov 23, 1894; d Vero Beach, FL, April 20, 1989).

American interior and industrial designer. Deskey gained a degree in architecture and studied painting before working in advertising. From 1922 to 1924 he was head of the art department at Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA. In 1921 and 1925 he made trips to Paris, where he attended the Ecole de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Colarossi, before returning to New York in 1926 as a champion of modern art and design. In 1926–7 he created the city’s first modern window displays for the Franklin Simon and Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. In 1927 he was joined by the designer Philip Vollmer, and the partnership became Deskey–Vollmer, Inc. (to c. 1929). Deskey expanded into designing interiors, furniture, lamps, and textiles, becoming a pioneer of the Style moderne (as Art Deco was known in America). His earliest model for the interior of an apartment was shown at the American Designers’ Gallery, New York, in ...

Article

Kleinhempel, Erich  

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1874, in Neustadt bei Leipzig; died 1947, in Erbach/Westerwald.

Painter, draughtsman, interior designer, graphic designer. Designs (furniture, fabrics, porcelain, precious metals, jewels).

Jugendstil.

Erich Kleinhempel first trained with Oskar Haebler in his graphics studio in Dresden, then entered the Kunstgewerbeschule in Dresden, where he studied ...

Article

Kozma, Lajos  

(b Kiskorpád, June 3, 1884; d Budapest, Nov 26, 1948).

Hungarian architect, interior and furniture designer, and graphic artist. He studied at the Budapest Imperial Joseph College (diploma 1906) and joined the Fiatalok (‘Young ones’) group, which travelled around Transylvania and Hungary studying vernacular architecture. Dominating his early designs (e.g. the fantasy house ‘Lapis Refugii’, 1908) is a luxuriant Secessionist style relying on Hungarian folk-art motifs. After a study trip to Paris (1909–10) he worked at Béla Lajta’s architectural studio in Budapest (1910–13), designing the interior of the Rózsavőlgyi music store in Szervita Square (1911–12; destr. 1961). The interior space was separated by transparent, vertical screens, while the carved-wood ornamentation was in a stylized version of Biedermeier. In 1913 Kozma organized the Budapest Workshop on the same lines as the Wiener Werkstätte, to produce furniture, domestic textiles and utility goods, and designs for entire apartment and office spaces (see Hungary, Republic of §V 4....

Article

Lafuente Tobenas, Félix  

Spanish, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 1865; died 1927.

Painter, draughtsman, watercolourist, poster artist, scenographer. Figure compositions, scenes with figures, portraits, landscapes, urban views. Stage sets, wall decorations, furniture.

Félix Lafuente Tobenas joined the Diocesan Seminary of Santa Cruz in Huesca at the age of 12. While preparing for the examination to become a primary school teacher, he took lessons at a drawing school, where his teacher was impressed by his talents. On his teacher's advice, he went to Madrid to enrol in the school of applied arts, where he worked intensively at academic drawing and made copies of the old masters in the Prado. He also took a course in theatrical design. In ...

Article

Reich, Louis  

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Born 2 February 1891, in Basel.

Painter, decorative artist.

Louis Reich studied at commercial art college in Basel and went on to complete his studies in Berlin and Bern.

Article

Rohde, Gilbert  

John F. Pile

(b New York, 1894; d New York, June 16, 1944).

American industrial designer. He learnt cabinetmaking in his father’s shop in the Bronx, New York, and then worked as an illustrator of furniture for several New York retail shops. In 1927 he made a trip to Paris and there saw examples of the modernism known subsequently as Art Deco. On his return to America he undertook freelance interior design projects and made custom-built modern furniture for private clients (e.g. end table, c. 1927–9; Rohde family priv. col., see 1981 exh. cat., fig.). In 1929 he opened a design office in New York, concentrating on interior design and developing furniture in the early modernist style. In 1930 he established a relationship with Herman Miller Inc. of Zeeland, MI, a firm that had previously made products imitating various traditional styles. Rohde convinced the firm of the superiority of the ideas of modernism at a time when this direction was virtually unknown in the USA; he developed an extensive line of furniture that combined functional ideas and simplicity of form with decorative details that were characteristically ‘modernistic’. Exotic woods, glass, mirrors and polished metals were used in groups of furniture that were modular or sectional in concept (e.g. dressing-table, ...

Article

Vignelli family  

Margaret Barlow

Italian designers, active in the USA. Massimo Vignelli (b Milan, 10 Jan 1931; d New York, 27 May 2014) attended the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera, Milan (1948–50); the Politecnico, Milan (1950–53); and the School of Architecture, University of Venice (1953–7). He chiefly worked on product and graphic design and corporate identity programmes. In the mid-1950s, while still a student, he designed a series of lighting fixtures for the Venini S.p.A. of Murano, most notably the ‘Fungo’ table lamp (1955; e.g. New York, Cooper-Hewitt Mus.), an original concept in striped glass in which the swelling lampshade and conical base form an integrated unit.

Between 1957 and 1960 he travelled and studied in the USA. In 1957 he married Lella [Elena] Vignelli [née Valle] (b Udine, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, 1936). She studied at the School of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge (...

Article

Walther, Ernst Hermann  

German, 19th – 20th century, male.

Born 18 August 1858, in Landsberg an der Warthe; died 1945, in Dresden.

Painter, interior designer, graphic designer. Designs (furniture).

Ernst Hermann Walther studied from 1877 to 1882 at the Berlin Academy. He settled in Dresden in 1882 and taught at the Dresden Werkstätten für Handwerkskunst for whom he explained the system of mass production of furniture....

Article

Zwart, Piet  

Sjarel Ex

(b Zaandijk, May 28, 1885; d Wassenaar, Sept 27, 1977).

Dutch designer and typographer . After working in the tradition of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he came into contact in 1917 with De Stijl, which fundamentally changed the course of his work. Through Vilmos Huszár and Jan Wils, he met H. P. Berlage, for whom he worked as a draughtsman, and international artists working in typographic design, such as Kurt Schwitters, El Lissitsky and Jan Tschichold. His international importance is based on typographical works, such as those he made between 1923 and 1930 for NKF, the Dutch cable works, and for PTT, the Dutch postal service. His advertisements, inspired by Dada, often used a wide range of typography and could be read as messages, poems or advertising slogans, while being appreciated simply as designs. Zwart was also active as an interior designer; his most successful work in this field was the kitchen (1938) that he designed for the ...