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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

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 ...

Article

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 (...

Article

( 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 ...