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Rainer K. Wick

[Bauhaus Berlin; Bauhaus Dessau, Hochschule für Gestaltung; Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar]

German school of art, design and architecture, founded by Walter Gropius. It was active in Weimar from 1919 to 1925, in Dessau from 1925 to 1932 and in Berlin from 1932 to 1933, when it was closed down by the Nazi authorities. The Bauhaus’s name referred to the medieval Bauhütten or masons’ lodges. The school re-established workshop training, as opposed to impractical academic studio education. Its contribution to the development of Functionalism in architecture was widely influential. It exemplified the contemporary desire to form unified academies incorporating art colleges, colleges of arts and crafts and schools of architecture, thus promoting a closer cooperation between the practice of ‘fine’ and ‘applied’ art and architecture. The origins of the school lay in attempts in the 19th and early 20th centuries to re-establish the bond between artistic creativity and manufacturing that had been broken by the Industrial Revolution. According to Walter Gropius in ...


Christian Norberg-Schulz

Norwegian architectural and furniture design partnership formed in 1922 by Gudolf Blakstad (b Gjerpen, 19 May 1893; d Oslo, 1986) and Herman Munthe-Kaas (b Christiania [now Oslo], 25 May 1890; d Oslo, 5 March 1970). Blakstad was awarded his diploma as an architect at the Norwegian Institute of Technology in Trondheim in 1916. He collaborated with Jens Dunker on the New Theatre, Oslo, from 1919 to 1929. After a preliminary training in Christiania, Munthe-Kaas finished his education at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm in 1919.

From the beginning of their careers Blakstad and Munthe-Kaas played a leading role in Norwegian architecture. After studying in Italy in the early 1920s, they advocated Neo-classicism in architectural projects, furniture designs and writings. In 1922 they won the competition for the new Town Hall in Haugesund (1924–31), a major work of 20th-century Norwegian Neo-classicism. Above a powerfully rusticated basement, the long office wing with its regular fenestration contrasts with the higher City Council Hall, accentuated by pairs of monumental, free-standing columns. In general the effect is of robust strength and an exciting interplay of horizontals and verticals....


Anna Rowland


(b Pécs, May 21, 1902; d New York, July 1, 1981).

American furniture designer and architect of Hungarian birth. In 1920 he took up a scholarship at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Vienna, but he left almost immediately to find a job in an architect’s office. A few weeks later he enrolled at the Bauhaus at Weimar on the recommendation of the Hungarian architect Fred Forbat (1897–1972). Breuer soon became an outstanding student in the carpentry workshop, which he led in its endeavours to find radically innovative forms for modern furniture. In practice, this meant rejecting traditional forms, which were considered symbolic of bourgeois life. The results of these experiments were initially as idiosyncratic as those of other workshops at Weimar, including the adoption of non-Western forms, for example the African chair (1921; see Rowland, 1990, p. 66) and an aggressively castellated style inspired by Constructivism.

Breuer was impressed by De Stijl, whose founder Theo van Doesburg made his presence felt in Weimar in ...


Experimental architectural program that ran from 1945 to 1966 and involved the building of Modernist houses, largely in California. John Entenza (1903–84) hit upon the idea just after World War II of spreading the word of the Modern Movement in architecture through an actual building program. As editor of the left-leaning journal California Arts and Architecture (later Arts and Architecture), he was concerned that the aftermath of wars was usually a period of conservatism in which progressive ideas were set aside. He wished to keep the spirit of the New Deal of the 1930s alive in architecture.

Entenza used the journal to promote interest in a program in which he would choose a major Modernist architect to design a house which, when built, the general public would be invited to tour. After such exposure, he would sell the house and use the proceeds to build another house designed by a Modernist. It would also be open for inspection—and so on. Needless to say, his plan was based on faith alone. Surprisingly, the idea worked. Entenza’s first six houses were toured by 368,554 people, all of them curious if not approving. Thirty-eight commissions were proposed and twenty-six were actually built, giving such architects as ...


Wilfried Posch

(b Baden, nr Vienna, July 15, 1885; d Stockholm, Jan 8, 1967).

Austrian architect, interior designer, teacher and writer. He studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule, Vienna, and then worked for a year with Bruno Möhring in Berlin. After a study visit to Italy he established himself as an independent architect in Vienna in 1910, building in the period before World War I a number of single-family houses distinguished by highly simplified forms and balanced proportions; examples include the Villa Hoch (1912) and Villa Wassermann (1914), both in Vienna. After the war he taught at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Vienna (1919–25), and collaborated with Adolf Loos and others in the Viennese garden city movement, which was based on English models. He took a leading role in the construction of cooperatively run garden suburbs and also contributed five residential buildings, several storeys high, to Vienna’s communal housing scheme, for example Winarskyhof (1924). Frank played a significant role in the propagation of artistic innovation in the early 20th century. As a member of both the ...


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 ...


Charlotte Moser

(b Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, Aug 9, 1879; d Paris, Nov 28, 1976).

Irish furniture designer and architect, active in France. In 1898 she entered the Slade School of Art, London, with additional instruction in oriental lacquer technique in D. Charles’s shop in Soho. She moved to Paris in 1902, where she continued her training with the Japanese lacquer master Seizo Sugawara. Her first lacquered furniture, including decorative panels, folding screens, small tables and other large pieces, appeared in 1910 and reflected a unique stylistic pastiche of Far Eastern and French influences. At the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in 1913 her pioneering modern furniture designs attracted the attention of Jacques Doucet. He commissioned three pièces uniques, two chairs and the lacquered screen Le Destin (1914). The screen, with Symbolist-inspired figures on one side and a starkly abstract design on a red-lacquered ground on the other, places Gray among the earliest 20th-century designers using geometric abstraction. She designed a theatrical interior in ...


Eveline Vermeulen

(b Rotterdam, Nov 5, 1887; d New Milton, Hants, April 25, 1979).

Dutch architect and designer. He studied from 1906 to 1911 at the Birmingham School of Art, where he was influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, the Glasgow school and the theories of W. R. Lethaby. He then studied (1911–14) at the Architectural Association in London, where he met David Bomberg and became acquainted with the Futurist and Vorticist avant-garde. His first executed designs—Løvdalla (1911), Huis ter Heide, near Utrecht, and Augustus John’s house (1913–14), Chelsea, London—show a predilection for varied façades and simple floor-plans; details are executed with great care. In 1914 he went to the USA to study the architecture and theories of Frank Lloyd Wright. The summer-house for J. N. Verloop (1914) and the country villa for A. B. Henny (1915–19), both at Huis ter Heide, reflect his admiration for Wright, and the latter, nicknamed the ‘Concrete villa’ for its inventive use of concrete-frame construction, established van ’t Hoff’s reputation. The house was adopted, first by the architects associated with ...


Lisbet Balslev Jørgensen


(b Frederiksberg, Vartov, Dec 15, 1888; d Copenhagen, March 28, 1954).

Danish furniture designer, architect and teacher. He was the son of P(eder) V(ilhelm) Jensen-Klint. He first studied painting at private art schools but went on to learn architecture from his father and from Carl Petersen, who was building the Museum for Fynsk Malerkunst (1912–15) at Fåborg. Klint made his début in furniture design with furniture for the Fåborg museum (1914). During a stay in Java (1914–16) he made contact with a firm of Chinese cabinetmakers who made furniture to his designs. A dining-room design of 1916 for Povl Baumann’s house, Gl. Vartovvej 16, Copenhagen, and the interior design (1916–18; with Carl Petersen) of the Dansk Kunsthandel at Vingårdsstræde 21, Copenhagen, show how he strove to achieve the classical mastery of line and form and East Asiatic colours and textural effects. Klint and Petersen designed the interiors and furnishing of the galleries for C. L. David’s collection at Kronprinsessegade 30, Copenhagen (...


Christian Norberg-Schulz

(b Christiania [now Oslo], Aug 14, 1900; d Cuzco, Peru, Aug 29, 1968).

Norwegian architect and designer. He graduated as an architect from the Norwegian Polytechnic in Trondheim in 1926. He worked as an assistant to architects in Oslo and in 1928 travelled extensively in Europe before starting his own practice in Oslo with Sverre Aasland (b 1899) in 1929. Together they designed the Frøen housing development (1929–30), the block of flats at Pavels Gate 6 (1930), Oslo, the Havna housing development, Oslo, including Villa Dammann (1930–32), and a grain silo in Kristiansand (1933–6).

Korsmo was a major exponent of the Modern Movement in Norway during the 1930s, and continued to expound its tenets after World War II. His first important work, the Villa Dammann, is a good illustration of his sensitive and original approach. It is reminiscent of the work of Erich Mendelsohn and W. M. Dudok: the exterior walls are concrete, interrupted in places by brick. A large, semi-cylindrical projection on the south side accommodates the living-room, and it is broken only by a horizontal strip of windows, set high so as to give a large wall area for the display of a painting collection inside....


Tim Benton

[Jeanneret, Charles-Edouard]

(b La Chaux de Fonds, Oct 6, 1887; d Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Alps-Maritimes, France, Aug 27, 1965).

Swiss architect, urban planner, painter, writer, designer and theorist, active mostly in France. In the range of his work and in his ability to enrage the establishment and surprise his followers, he was matched in the field of modern architecture perhaps only by Frank Lloyd Wright. He adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier for his architectural work c. 1920 and for his paintings c. 1930. His visionary books, startling white houses and terrifying urban plans set him at the head of the Modern Movement in the 1920s, while in the 1930s he became more of a complex and sceptical explorer of cultural and architectural possibilities. After World War II he frequently shifted position, serving as ‘Old Master’ of the establishment of modern architecture and as unpredictable and charismatic leader for the young. Most of his great ambitions (urban and housing projects) were never fulfilled. However, the power of his designs to stimulate thought is the hallmark of his career. Before he died, he established the Fondation Le Corbusier in Paris to look after and make available to scholars his library, architectural drawings, sketches and paintings....


Peter Carter

(b Aachen, March 27, 1886; d Chicago, IL, Aug 17, 1969).

German architect, furniture designer, and teacher, active also in the USA. With Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier, he was a leading figure in the development of modern architecture. His reputation rests not only on his buildings and projects but also on his rationally based method of architectural education.

He was born Ludwig Mies but later adopted his mother’s name, van der Rohe. The son of a master stone mason, Mies van der Rohe had no formal architectural education. He attended the Domschule in Aachen until 1900 and then the local trade school (1900–02) while working on building sites for his father, from whom he acquired a respect for the nature of building materials. The town’s many fine medieval buildings stimulated a youthful interest in architecture, and their characteristically clear and honest construction exerted a lasting influence upon his creative work. Two years as a draughtsman and designer for a firm specializing in stucco decoration followed, before he left for Berlin in ...


Deborah Cullen

[MoMA] (New York)

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) was founded in 1929 by patrons Lillie P(lummer) Bliss, Cornelius J. Sullivan and Rockefeller family §(1) to establish an institution devoted to modern art. Over the next ten years the Museum moved three times and in 1939 settled in the Early Modern style building (1938–9) designed by Philip S. Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone that it still occupies at 11 West 53 Street. Subsequent renovations and expansions occurred in the 1950s and 1960s by Philip Johnson, in 1984 by Cesar Pelli and in 2002–4 by Yoshirō Taniguchi (b 1937). MoMA QNS, the temporary headquarters during this project, was subsequently used to provide art storage. In 2000, MoMA and the contemporary art space, P.S.1, Long Island City, Queens, announced their affiliation. Recent projects are shown at P.S.1 in Queens in a renovated public school building.

According to founding director, Alfred H(amilton) Barr...


Radomíra Sedláková

(b Benešov, Jan 11, 1880; d Prague, April 4, 1959).

Czech architect, designer, teacher and writer. He graduated (1903) in architecture from the Academy of Applied Arts, Prague, where he studied under Jan Kotěra. He worked for a year in Kotěra’s studio, then set up his own practice. Novotný was a notable member of the generation that laid the foundations for modern architecture in Czechoslovakia. He was initially influenced by the Viennese Secession style, as seen in his finely decorative Otto villa (1909), Zbraslav, but at this time he was also developing an individual style using bare brickwork with great skill. Perhaps the best examples of this modern, rationalist approach are found in the Štenc house and publishing offices (1909–11), Prague, for which he also designed some elegant black-and-white furniture, and in his clubhouses (1911 and 1912) for the Sokol national physical education movement in Holice and Rakovník. He was less influenced by Czech Cubism, although he did design three houses (...


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 ...


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 ...


Marijke Küper


(b Utrecht, June 24, 1888; d Utrecht, June 25, 1964).

Dutch architect and furniture designer. He started work in his father’s furniture workshop at the age of 12, and then from 1906 to 1911 he worked as a draughtsman for C. J. Begeer, a jeweller in Utrecht. During 1904–8 he took evening classes in drawing and the study of ornamentation at the Kunstindustrieel Onderwijs der Vereeniging of the Museum van Kunstnijverheid in Utrecht. His interests nevertheless extended further than the applied arts. Around 1906 he attended classes given by the architect P. J. C. Klaarhamer (1874–1954), a like-minded contemporary of H. P. Berlage. This contact with Klaarhamer, who at that time shared a studio with Bart van der Leck, was of great importance for Rietveld’s development, for it was through them that he learnt of recent national and international trends in architecture and the applied arts.

In 1917 Rietveld set up a furniture workshop in Utrecht; the following year ...


Mark Allen Svede

(b nr Cēsis, April 28, 1896; d Tbilisi, Georgia, July 14, 1944).

Latvian painter, printmaker, ceramicist, interior designer, tage and film set designer and theorist. He was the foremost ideologue for modernism in Latvia and was one of its greatest innovators. His militant defence of avant-garde principles befitted his experience as a soldier and as one of the artists who, after World War I, was denied a studio by the city officials and staged an armed occupation of the former premises of the Riga Art School. At the end of the war he painted in an Expressionist manner: In Church (1917; Riga, priv. col., see Suta, 1975, p. 19), for example, is an exaltation of Gothic form and primitivist rendering. Unlike his peers Jāzeps Grosvalds and Jēkabs Kazaks, he was extremely interested in Cubism and Constructivism, the theories of which informed his paintings, drawings, prints and occasional architectural projects of the 1920s. At this time he and his wife, the painter ...


Despina Stratigakos

[Sophie Gerhardine Wilhelmine]

(b Stuttgart, March 3, 1904; d Bad Reichenhall, Jan 30, 2003).

German architectural adviser, designer, and interior decorator. Based in Munich, Troost served as Adolf Hitler’s design collaborator and artistic advisor from 1930 to 1945. While she did not hold an official post within the National Socialist regime, her influence in artistic affairs was widely acknowledged at the time. Troost did not train formally as a designer, but claimed to have been influenced by her father, an interior decorator and owner of a cabinetry company in Bremen, and to have learnt at the side of her husband, the architect Paul Ludwig Troost. After their marriage in 1925, she worked with him on his commissions and later described their relationship as an artistic partnership.

In 1930 Hitler met Paul Troost, whom he entrusted to give architectural form to his National Socialist ideals. When the architect died in 1934, his young widow assumed responsibility for completing his National Socialist commissions, which set the standard for the regime’s new architecture. Together with the architect Leonhard Gall (...


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 ...