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Julius Posener

(b Grossneuhaus, April 20, 1861; d Berlin, Oct 26, 1927).

German architect, architectural historian, theorist and critic. He worked with Ende & Böckmann, one of the leading architectural firms in Berlin, who employed him in Tokyo (1887–91), where he designed a Gothic Revival German church. On his return to Germany he joined the Ministry of Public Works and was appointed technical attaché (1896–1903) to the German Embassy in London. In England he studied the work of the English country-house architects from about 1870: the earlier figures, Philip Webb and R. Norman Shaw, and his own contemporaries C. F. A. Voysey, Edwin Lutyens and W. R. Lethaby. He published several accounts of his investigations of English architectural culture, most notably the three-volume Das englische Haus (Berlin, 1904–05). This detailed study, which considers the house, and architecture in general, as an expression of the society of which it is a part, expressed Muthesius’s enthusiasm for England and his belief that the immediate future belonged to this style of building. It was much admired in England, but its effect in Germany was to provoke controversy; even in the 1920s a copy was still kept locked away from students of the Technische Hochschule, Berlin. Although keen to promote an awareness of the functional and practical in architecture, Muthesius did not go so far as to see the form of a house as merely the result of fulfilling functional needs. He never denied that the architect was an artist, motivated by the desire to give a convincing visual expression. Indeed his admiration went to artistically minded architects, such as Lutyens and Charles Rennie Mackintosh, who became a close friend, rather than to the more severely rational, such as Voysey....


Peg Weiss

(b Kilchberg, Switzerland, May 23, 1862; d Munich, Feb 26, 1927).

Swiss artist, craftsman and teacher. After studying science and medicine at the Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (1885–7), he travelled in England and Scotland in 1887. There the Arts and Crafts Movement influenced his decision to turn his attentions to the applied arts. Following brief studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Karlsruhe and an apprenticeship as a potter, his ceramics and furniture won gold medals at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889. In 1890 he studied at the Académie Julian in Paris, before visiting Berlin and Florence, where he experimented in marble sculpture and established an embroidery studio in which his own designs could be carried out; he moved his studio to Munich in 1894.

In April 1896 an exhibition in Munich at the Galerie Littauer of 35 embroideries designed by Obrist and executed by Berthe Ruchet attracted considerable critical acclaim, with commentators referring to the birth of a new applied art. To further his artistic ideals Obrist founded the ...


(b Troppau, Silesia [now Opava, Czech Republic], Dec 22, 1867; d Düsseldorf, Aug 8, 1908).

Austrian architect and designer, active also in Germany. During a brief career of little more than a decade, he produced highly influential work that typified the formal freedoms emerging from the anti-historicist movement in fin-de-siècle Vienna and pointed the way to Expressionism and Neues Bauen (see Modern Movement). In 1881 he enrolled in the building department of the Staatsgewerbeschule, Vienna, where he studied under Camillo Sitte; but he returned to Troppau in 1886 to gain practical experience working for a local builder. He then went back to Vienna in 1890 to complete his education at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste. A brilliant draughtsman, he won many prizes as a student, including the Rome prize in 1893, the last year of tenure at the Akademie of Karl Hasenauer, one of the creators of Vienna’s Ringstrasse and a guardian of the great historicist tradition in the late 19th century. Olbrich travelled to Italy and North Africa before returning to Vienna in ...


Donna Corbin

(b Münster, May 16, 1872; d Baierbrunn, Upper Bavaria, April 5, 1943).

German designer, architect, sculptor and painter. He was the son of a cabinetmaker and studied painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf (1889–91) and in Berlin (1891–2) before settling in Munich in 1892. Working as a portrait painter and graphic designer, he contributed illustrations to a number of periodicals including Pan (from 1895) and Jugend (from 1896). His earliest furniture designs were a chair and mirror shown at the seventh Internationale Kunstausstellung held at the Glaspalast in Munich in 1897. In the following year he was commissioned by F. A. O. Krüger (b 1868), one of the founder-members of the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk, Munich, to produce designs for the workshop. Like other designers of the Vereinigte Werkstätten, such as Richard Riemerschmid, Peter Behrens or Bruno Paul, Pankok produced designs in a variety of media, although his designs for furniture are probably his most original. His early furniture designs are characterized by a certain heaviness and ‘organic’ look, recalling the work of Antoni Gaudí and representing the more expressionistic, less functional, aspect of ...


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 (...


Anne van Loo

(b Brussels, Dec 9, 1873; d Brussels, Feb 9, 1980).

Belgian architect, teacher and designer. He was the son of a jeweller from Brussels and trained in precious metalwork at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels before taking drawing courses at the Gewerbliche Fortbildungsschule (1890–91) and the Kunstgewerblicheschule, Munich. He began work as a goldsmith, later working with master ironworkers (1893–6) and builder–foundrymen (1897–8). In 1899 he became a draughtsman for the architect Adrien Delpy (d 1949) in Brussels, then until 1903 he worked in Georges Hobé’s decorative arts and cabinet work studio. In 1904 he went into partnership with the architect Adhémar Lenner; together they won a restricted competition (1908) for the Palace Hotel in Brussels, for which he also designed the furniture.

In 1910, at the age of 37, Pompe created his first individual work of architecture: Dr Van Neck’s orthopaedic clinic in Brussels, a rationalist building in which Pompe went beyond the previous limits of Art Nouveau. The building’s internal organization is expressed in its façade, notably by the use of glass blocks that illuminate the great gymnasium, and three projecting vertical ventilation shafts rest on the metal lintels of the ground-floor bays to emphasize their non-structural character. Of all 20th-century buildings in Belgium, this is probably the one that best expressed an original direction for architecture, in which craft and industry would find their respective places. In its form as much as in its innovative programme, this building was such a sensation that Pompe became a figurehead for the young modernist generation. However, his desire to combine technical rationality and constructional logic with a romantic, emotional expression always separated him from this group....


Donna Corbin

(b Munich, June 20, 1868; d Munich, April 13, 1957).

German designer, architect and painter. The son of a textile manufacturer, he studied painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Munich (1888–90); he painted primarily at the beginning and end of his career, and he was a member of the Munich Secession. In 1895 Riemerschmid designed his first furniture, in a neo-Gothic style, for his and his wife’s flat on Hildegardstrasse in Munich. In 1897 he exhibited furniture and paintings at the seventh Internationale Kunstausstellung held at the Glaspalast in Munich. Immediately following the exhibition, the committee members of the decorative arts section, including Riemerschmid and Hermann Obrist, founded the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk. In 1898 Riemerschmid was commissioned to design a music room for the Munich piano manufacturer J. Mayer & Co., which was subsequently exhibited at the Deutsche Kunstausstellung exhibition in Dresden in 1899. The armchair and side chair, with its diagonal bracing, designed for this room, are some of his most original and best-known designs. In ...


Maurice Culot


(b Rouen, May 10, 1873; d Paris, March 1932).

French architect. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris from 1890 and became part of a progressive circle that included Louis Majorelle, Charles Plumet and Francis Jourdain; Jourdain’s father, Frantz, was to give Sauvage constant support. Sauvage’s marriage in 1898 to Marie-Louise Charpentier, the daughter of the sculptor Alexandre Charpentier, was proof of his integration into Art Nouveau circles. From 1900 he worked in association with Charles Sarazin (1873–1950), whom he had met at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. Both produced large numbers of applied art designs: designs for goldwork and for furniture, and a considerable number for interior decoration. In 1898 they designed two salons for the Café de Paris (reconstruction in Paris, Carnavalet). In the same year they also worked on the Villa Majorelle in Nancy, a complete work of art resulting from collaboration with Charpentier, Frantz Jourdain and Majorelle, and from 1899 to 1913...


Rosemarie Hopfner

[Friedrich] (Wilhelm)

(b Bremen, Nov 4, 1869; d Hamburg, Nov 5, 1947).

German architect, urban planner and writer. He was born into an old-established family of merchants. His childhood and early youth were spent in Bogotá and New York. Although he first studied mathematics and science (1889–96) in Munich and Berlin, he gradually applied himself to studying architecture. His teacher Friedrich von Thiersch placed it in a historicizing style. From 1896 until 1901 he was an architect at the Stadtbauamt in Leipzig under Hugo Licht. He was involved in the construction of the town hall, the St Johanniskirche and the rebuilding of the town library. In this period he went on long study trips to Paris, Rome, London, the Netherlands and Belgium. He was a regular collaborator on the journals Dekorative Kunst and Kunstwart.

In 1901 Schumacher was appointed to the Technische Hochschule in Dresden. He read about interior architecture, the stylistics of arts and crafts, the morphology of Classical architecture and taught freehand and decorative drawing for engineers and architects. In ...


Catherine Cooke


(b Kishinyov [now Chişinău], Moldova, Sept 26, 1873; d Moscow, May 24, 1949).

Russian architect, urban planner and restorer, of Moldovan birth. Although by nature a historicist, to whom undecorated Modernism was a response to poverty rather than an aim in itself, he came to occupy a central position in the formative years of Soviet Modernist architecture during the 1920s. His own best works, however, date in general from the periods before the Revolution of 1917 and after 1930, when public architectural tastes were closer to his own.

His father was a minor official in Russian provincial administration in Kishinyov. Orphaned while still at school, but a highly talented draughtsman, Shchusev went to St Petersburg and entered the Academy of Arts in 1891 studying, after the reforms of 1894, in the studio of Leonty Benois. His diploma project of 1897 won him the Academy’s gold medal and a 16-month trip to Europe in 1898–9. On his return he worked for Benois until receiving his own first significant commission in ...


Jane Block and Paul Kruty

(b Antwerp, April 3, 1863; d Zurich, Oct 25, 1957).

Belgian designer, architect, painter, and writer. He was one of the leading figures in the creation of Art Nouveau in the 1890s.

From 1880 to 1883 Van de Velde studied at the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp, exhibiting for the first time in 1882. In 1883 he was a founder-member of the art group Als Ik Kan, which fostered the position of the artist outside of the Salon. His earliest paintings, such as the Guitar-player (1883; Brussels, priv. col., see Canning, p. 100), are in a Realist vein with sombre tones. In October 1884 Van de Velde travelled to Paris. Although he entered the studio of the academic painter Carolus-Duran, where he remained until the spring of 1885, he was strongly attracted to the works of Jean-François Millet (ii). His works after his stay in Paris, such as Still-life with Fruit Dish (1886; Otterlo, Kröller-Müller), display the characteristic broken brushstroke of the Impressionists, although this style is often combined with subjects drawn from Millet, seen in the ...


Larissa Haskell

( Aleksandrovich )

(b Omsk, March 5, 1856; d St Petersburg, April 1, 1910).

Russian painter and draughtsman. He was a pioneer of modernism, and his highly innovative technique broke with the traditions of the Academy of Arts in St Petersburg, where he had been a brilliant student; at the same time he felt dissociated from the social consciousness of The Wanderers. He remained a lonely figure in Russian art, but he was the only one of his generation who successfully achieved the monumentality for which so many painters were aiming.

As a boy Vrubel’, whose health was frail and who had a nervous disposition, showed considerable talent for music and drawing. He finished school in Odessa and enlisted in the law faculty of the University of St Petersburg, where he successfully completed his training in 1880. In the same year he entered the Academy of Arts, St Petersburg, where his exceptional talent was appreciated by both his teachers and his fellow students, particularly Valentin Serov. Under the influence of ...


Ludovica Scarpa

(b Königsberg [now Kaliningrad, Russian Federation], Nov 5, 1885; d Cambridge, MA, April 28, 1957).

German architect, urban planner and theorist, active also in the USA. After brief apprenticeships in the studio of Hermann Muthesius in Berlin (1908–9) and with Fritz Schumacher in Hamburg (1911), he was appointed director of urban planning at Rüstringen (now Wilhelmshaven), where he remained until 1914, producing his first examples of municipal architecture. From 1918 to 1920 he was chief planner at Schöneberg, a suburb of Berlin. Here he designed the Siedlung Lindenhof housing estate (1918–19; destr. 1944). Wagner’s principal interest was in producing low-cost housing provided with the social and hygienic requisites lacking in the speculative building typical of large 19th-century cities. This preoccupation led him to assist in the establishment of cooperative building ventures funded by trades unions, such as the Bauhütte Berlin (1919), the Verband Sozialer Baubetriebe (1920–24) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Wohnungsbaus (Dewog). As director of the latter’s branch in Berlin, the Gemeinnützige Heimstätten AG (Gehag), Wagner initiated the construction of the Hufeisensiedlung (...


( Colomann )

(b Penzing, nr Vienna, July 13, 1841; d Vienna, April 11, 1918).

Austrian architect, urban planner, designer, teacher and writer. He was one of the most important architects of the 19th and 20th centuries—in 1911 Adolf Loos called him ‘the greatest architect in the world’—and a key figure in the development of 20th-century European architecture. His work, spread over more than half a century, embodies the transition from mid-19th-century historicism to the earliest expressions of 20th-century Modernism. Wagner was an influential teacher and theorist, and in addition to his executed work he designed and published more than 100 ambitious schemes, the last volume of his Einige Skizzen being published posthumously in 1922; this long series of often fantastic but always highly pragmatic and carefully thought out projects included urban plans, museums, academies, parliament buildings and public monuments.

After studying at the Technische Hochschule in Vienna from 1857 to 1860 and spending a short period at the Bauakademie in Berlin, where he became familiar with the work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Wagner studied from ...