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Article

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

Gisela Moeller

(b Berlin, April 12, 1871; d Berlin, April 13, 1925).

German architect, designer, writer and teacher. After moving to Munich in 1892, he abandoned his plan to become a teacher, deciding on a career as a freelance scholar. He then studied aesthetics, psychology and philosophy, being particularly influenced by the lectures of the psychologist Theodor Lipps. He also studied German literature, art and music. In 1895 he intended to write a doctorate on the theme of ‘The Construction of Feeling’. In spring 1896 he met Hermann Obrist, who persuaded him to abandon his proposed academic career and become a self-taught artist. As well as book illustrations and decorative pieces for the art magazines Pan and Dekorative Kunst, he produced decorative designs for wall reliefs, carpets, textiles, coverings, window glass and lamps. In 1897 he designed his first furniture for his cousin, the historian Kurt Breysig. His first architectural work, the Elvira photographic studio in Munich (1896–7; destr. 1944), decorated on its street façade by a gigantic, writhing dragon, was a quintessential work of ...

Article

N. Mens

(b Rotterdam, May 10, 1864; d Voorburg, June 21, 1940).

Dutch architect and teacher. After studying in the 1880s at the Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in The Hague, he worked as an independent architect in Amsterdam from 1890. Shortage of commissions led him to concentrate initially on competition entries, in which he developed his drawing skills. Although he has been categorized as belonging to Art Nouveau, he challenged this style for relegating the architect to the position of designer. His architectural approach was based on what he called ‘the moulding of cubic masses’, for which he regarded brick as the most effective material. His first large commission was the American Hotel (1899–1902), Amsterdam, largely inspired in its decorative additions by Islamic architecture. The elaborate, projecting dormer windows, and minaret-like turret, embody his concept of moulding in brick. His competition design (1905–6; unexecuted) for the Vredesplein in The Hague made even greater use of Islamic motifs. In the same period he was also engaged in the organization of the architectural profession in the Netherlands. He took the initiative in founding an architectural cooperative representative body, which led to the establishment in ...

Article

Rhys W. Williams

(b Pesitza, Austria–Hungary, June 10, 1867; d Vevey, Switzerland, June 5, 1935).

German art historian. He studied engineering in Munich, Zurich and Liège, before moving to Berlin in 1890, where he attended the university and became involved in artistic circles. In 1894 he co-founded the periodical Pan, becoming its art editor and financial manager, though he was dismissed in April 1895 by wealthy and conservative patrons unhappy with the emphasis given to French art, after publication of the first issue. He moved in 1895 to Paris, where he had already met avant-garde artists, and in 1898 founded the periodical Dekorative Kunst, in which he championed Art Nouveau; he opened an Art Nouveau gallery, La Maison Moderne, in Paris in 1899, which closed in 1903. Returning to Berlin in 1904, he published his most significant contribution to art history, Die Entwicklungsgeschichte der modernen Kunst, in which he was concerned to define the specifically artistic (‘das Bildhafte’) in isolation from socio-economic or historical factors, to trace its development in the 19th century, and to offer a basis for a new aesthetic: 19th-century painting from Delacroix to the Post-Impressionists was presented as a series of solutions to formal problems. In further controversial essays on Arnold Böcklin and Adolf Friedrich Erdmann Menzel, Meier-Graefe questioned prevailing academic and nationalistic judgements. Subsequently he published studies devoted to Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Courbet, and to the French Impressionists. His ...

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

(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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Maurice Culot

[Henry]

(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...

Article

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 ...

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 ...