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Kathleen James-Chakraborty

(b Karlsruhe, April 12, 1883; d Darmstadt, Feb 20, 1959).

German architect and writer. Bartning studied at the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe and at the Technische Hochschule and the University in Berlin. In 1905 he established a practice in Berlin. By 1918 he had received c. 50 commissions, but he only began to publish his work after World War I. The upheavals of the period prompted him to propose the spatial and stylistic reorganization of German Protestant church building as a means of restoring social harmony. His book, On New Church Buildings, appeared in 1919 and spurred a revolution in German sacred architecture. During the 1920s Bartning joined the Novembergruppe, the Arbeitsrat für Kunst, and Der Ring, the principal German avant-garde artistic and architectural groups. His most interesting contribution to the brief period of German Expressionism was the Sternkirche project (1922). The centralized church is surmounted by a roof of layered concrete shells that are supported by a thicket of columns, intended as a reinterpretation of Gothic construction....

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

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Písek, Oct 13, 1880; d Karlovy Vary, July 6, 1956).

Czech architect. He studied architecture at the Technical University, Prague, and later at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, under Otto Wagner. In 1911, together with Josef Gočár, Pavel Janák, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964) and others, he founded the Group of Plastic Artists, Prague, which sought to develop a more artistic approach to architecture. He subsequently became one of the leading exponents of Czech Cubism in architecture, which concentrated on the sculptural articulation of façades with abstract, prismatic forms. He designed four houses (1911–13; for illustration) below Vyšehrad Hill in Prague with faceted façades that are among the best examples of Czech Cubism. At about the same time, however, he produced drawings for austere, geometric, undecorated façades that anticipated the later development of Czech Purism. Buildings he designed in the Purist style included an office building (1920–21) in Jindřišska Street and a building (1923–5) for the ...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Semín, nr Pardubice, March 13, 1880; d Jičín, Sept 10, 1945).

Czech architect, designer, urban planner and teacher. In 1906 he completed his studies at the Academy of Applied Arts, Prague, under Jan Kotěra, in whose studio he worked until 1908. His earliest work was strikingly modern and rationalist in style, revealing a purity of expression in the use of reinforced concrete; for example the Wenke Department Store (1909–10), Jaroměř, was designed with a skeleton structure on which a lightweight, fully glazed wall was suspended to form the façade. In 1911, with Josef Chochol, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964), Pavel Janák and others, he became a founder-member of the Group of Plastic Artists, Prague, which sought to develop a more artistic approach to architecture; a year later he and Janák founded the Prague Art Workshops for the design of arts, crafts and furniture, and from 1914 he was a member of the Architects’ Club. Influenced by Janák, Gočár adopted the prismatic surface forms of ...

Article

Gilbert Herbert

(Adolf Georg)

(b Berlin, May 18, 1883; d Boston, MA, July 5, 1969).

American architect, industrial designer and teacher of German birth. He was one of the most influential figures in the development of the Modern Movement, whose contribution lay as much in his work as theoretician and teacher as it did in his innovative architecture. The important buildings and projects in Gropius’s career—the early factories, the Bauhaus complex at Dessau (1925–6), the Totaltheater project for Berlin, the housing estates and prefabricated dwellings—were all more than immediate answers to specific problems. Rather, they were a series of researches in which he sought prototypical solutions that would offer universal applicability. They were also didactic in purpose—concrete demonstrations, manifestos, of his theories and beliefs. His theories sought to integrate the individual and society, art and industry, form and function and the part with the whole. He left Germany for England in 1934; three years later he emigrated to the USA, where he continued to teach, write and design for the rest of his life....

Article

Lucius Grisebach

(b Döbeln, nr Dresden, July 31, 1883; d Radolfzell, nr Konstanz, Jan 27, 1970).

German painter, printmaker and sculptor. He was one of the founders of the group Brücke, Die and one of its most influential and active members. His work was central to German Expressionism.

Heckel began painting and drawing as a schoolboy in Chemnitz, where he became a friend of Karl Schmidt (later Schmidt-Rottluff). In 1904 Heckel went to Dresden to study architecture under Fritz Schumacher at the Technische Hochschule, where he met Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the artist Fritz Bleyl (1880–1966). In 1905 the four artists, united by common artistic desires and aims, formed Die Brücke. Heckel abandoned his architectural studies in order to pursue his creative work and to organize the group, although he continued to work as a draughtsman and site manager for the architect Wilhelm Kreis until 1907. In common with other members of the group, Heckel drew and painted life models, either in the studio or ...

Article

Radomíra Sedláková

(b Prague, March 12, 1882; d Prague, Aug 1, 1956).

Czech architect, designer, theorist and teacher. He graduated in architecture from the Czech Technical University, Prague, where he studied under Josef Schulz and Josef Zítek, and from 1906 to 1907 he was a student of Otto Wagner at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna. In 1908 he worked in Jan Kotěra’s studio in Prague. His early work was influenced by the modernism of Wagner and Kotěra, but he perceived a danger of uniformity in a purely rationalist approach to architecture. In 1911, together with Josef Chochol, Josef Gočár, Vlastislav Hofman (1884–1964), Emil Filla, Václav Špála, Antonín Procházka, Otto Gutfreund and others, he founded the Group of Fine Artists, which sought a more artistic approach to architecture, and in 1912 he and Gočár founded the Prague Art Workshops for the design of arts, crafts and furniture. Within the Group of Fine Artists, Janák developed the principles of Czech Cubism...

Article

Mark Allen Svede

(b Riga, Feb 18, 1895; d Riga, Nov 30, 1920).

Latvian painter. Like many Latvian modernists, his formal artistic training and the choice of his most compelling subjects derived from his experience as a refugee during World War I. In 1915 he was evacuated from the Art School in Riga to the one in Penza, south-east of Moscow, where he remained until 1917. In Moscow he saw Sergey Shchukin’s and Ivan Morozov’s collections of modern French art. He was also profoundly inspired by the series of Refugee and Riflemen paintings of his fellow countryman Jāzeps Grosvalds, bringing to these themes his own intimist painter’s sensitivity. Refugees (1917; Riga, Latv. Mus. F.A.) combines the modesty and witty minutiae of naive art and a classical pictorial structure. Similarly, Kazaks often recorded his experiences as a soldier with humour and warmth, eschewing the overtly heroic or patriotic. After World War I, he became the leader in Latvia of the avant-garde association Ekpresionisti, which evolved into the ...

Article

(b Hamburg, Sept 14, 1876; d Pansdorf, nr Lübeck, May 13, 1954).

German painter, printmaker, poster and stage designer. He attended the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg (c. 1894), and art academies in Düsseldorf and Berlin (c. 1897). In the first decades of the 20th century he exhibited with the New Secessionists. He drew and painted still-lifes and figures in landscapes and interiors in a strongly Expressionist style, which revealed his admiration for Cubism and for the work of Ferdinand Hodler. He was an assiduous worker; besides paintings, woodcuts and lithographs, he designed stained-glass windows, mosaics (e.g. Kaiser Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, Berlin), murals and painted ceilings. He also decorated the interiors of a number of Berlin theatres, as well as the Marmorhaus cinema (1913). Klein and Gerhard Marcks joined Gropius to organize the 1914 Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Cologne.

In the post-World War I ferment of cultural and political activity, Klein, with Max Pechstein and others, founded the Novembergruppe in Berlin in ...

Article

Shulamith Behr

(Baruch)

(b Bernstadt, Prussia [now Germany], April 18, 1884; d Darmstadt, May 14, 1966).

German painter, draughtsman, graphic artist, writer and teacher. He was born into a middle-class Jewish family during the late Wilhelmine period, and his parents wanted him to pursue a profession more practical than an artistic one. Nonetheless, while apprenticed to a bricklayer in 1901, Meidner produced highly accomplished pen-and-ink drawings. Their imagery reveals his attempts to align his Jewish heritage with that of modern-day Christianity and Socialism, an intellectual preoccupation that was to remain consistent throughout his career (e.g. Ibn Esra, 1901; Darmstadt, Stadtmus. & Städt. Kstsamml.). In 1903 he studied at the Königliche Akademie in Breslau (now Wrocław, Poland) and in 1905 moved to Berlin where, to earn a living, he designed advertisements for furriers. A stipend from an aunt enabled him to visit Paris between 1905 and 1907. There he met Modigliani, briefly attended the Académie Julian and Académie Cormon and generally broadened his experience of city life. Nonetheless, his correspondence at that time reveals his preference for Berlin, the ‘struggling, earnest burgeoning city…the world’s intellectual and moral capital’ (letter to Franz Landsberger, ...

Article

Ita Heinze-Greenberg

(b Allenstein [now Olsztyn, Poland], March 21, 1887; d San Francisco, Sept 15, 1953).

German architect, teacher, and writer, active also in England, Palestine, and the USA. Mendelsohn was one of the most influential exponents of architectural Expressionism, and his sketches of fluid organic building forms and his Einstein Tower, Potsdam, are among the best-known products of the movement. Although his later work abandoned three-dimensional forms in favour of more conventional, geometric designs, these often incorporated curvilinear plans and retained an innovative dynamism.

Mendelsohn grew up as one of six children of a Jewish business family in the small East Prussian town of Allenstein. Following his father’s wishes, in 1907 he began to study economics at the University of Munich but in 1908 followed his own inclinations and enrolled as an architecture student at the Technische Hochschule, Berlin. In 1910 he returned to Munich to complete his architectural studies under Theodor Fischer, one of the most progressive teachers at the Technische Hochschule, and as a student he met several Expressionist artists, including Paul Klee, Franz Marc, Vasily Kandinsky, and Hugo Ball. After graduating in ...

Article

Karl-Heinz Hüter

(b Mechernich, nr Euskirchen, June 17, 1881; d Baltrum, East Friesian islands, July 24, 1929).

German architect and teacher. He trained as a cabinetmaker and studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Düsseldorf, where he was particularly influenced by J. L. M. Lauwerik’s theory of proportion. From 1907 to 1908 he worked in Peter Behrens’s office, and from 1909 to 1910 he worked in Bruno Paul’s office in Berlin. From 1910 until 1925 he worked in close collaboration with Walter Gropius and directed his offices in Berlin and Weimar. In addition he was an outstanding teacher of architecture at the Bauhaus in Weimar (1919–25). When the school moved to Dessau, Ernst May appointed him director of the planning consultancy at the structural engineering office in Frankfurt am Main. He also taught structural engineering at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Frankfurt. In 1919 he signed the manifesto of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst and was a member of the architects’ group Der Ring. In 1928 he founded the Frankfurt Oktobergruppe with, among others, ...

Article

Peter W. Guenther

Group of German artists named after the German Revolution of November 1918, founded in Berlin on 3 December 1918 and active until 1932. In the wake of World War I and the German Revolution, a number of Expressionist artists including Max Pechstein and César Klein invited all the ‘revolutionaries in spirit (Expressionists, Cubists, Futurists)’ to form an association of ‘radical creative artists’. Their intention was not to form an exhibition society but to influence and demand participation in all activities of importance to the arts and to artists: in architecture as a public affair; in the reorganization of art schools; in the restructuring of museums; in new exhibition spaces; and in new laws to protect the arts and artists. A hope for a new and better society, a tendency towards socialism and a belief that the arts would be able to change society formed the Expressionist basis for the association....

Article

Lucius Grisebach

(b Eckersbach, Zwickau, Dec 31, 1881; d West Berlin, June 19, 1955).

German painter and printmaker. He was apprenticed as a decorator in Zwickau from 1896 to 1900, when he moved to Dresden to enrol at the Kunstgewerbeschule, where he met the architect Wilhelm Kreis and the painter Otto Gussmann (1869–1926) and obtained decorative commissions. He continued his studies from 1902 until 1906 as Gussmann’s pupil at the Dresden Kunstakademie. Through Kreis, Pechstein was introduced to Erich Heckel in 1906 and was invited by him to join Brücke, Die, a group founded in the previous year that was quickly to become a major force in the rise of German Expressionism (see Expressionism §1). The founders of the group were all architecture students, leaving Pechstein as the only member to have received formal academic training as a painter. He remained closely involved with the group until 1910, drawing and painting in the studios of Heckel and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner in Dresden and also working communally with them ...

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

Lucius Grisebach

(b Rottluff, nr Chemnitz, Dec 1, 1884; d West Berlin, Aug 10, 1976).

German painter and printmaker. One of the main exponents of Expressionism, he was a founder of Brücke, Die and one of its leading members. As a boy he got to know Erich Heckel at grammar school, following in his footsteps in 1905 when he enrolled as an architectural student at the Sächsische Technische Hochschule in Dresden; there Heckel introduced him to another student, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, four years his senior, and to Kirchner’s friend, the painter Fritz Bleyl (1880–1966). They all felt close in their artistic aspirations, perceiving their architectural studies as a front behind which they could train, largely by teaching themselves, as painters. Later that year, by which time Schmidt-Rottluff had annexed the name of his native town to his surname, they formed Die Brücke with the aim of creating an uncompromisingly vital art that renounced all traditions; the group’s name, derived from a quotation in Friedrich Nietzsche’s ...