Henry van de Velde: Designing Modernism
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Katherine M. Kuenzli
The painter, designer, and architect Henry van de Velde (1863–1957) played a crucial role in expanding modernist aesthetics beyond Paris and beyond painting. Opposing growing nationalism around 1900, he sought to make painting the basis of an aesthetic that transcended boundaries between the arts and between nations through his work in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. Van de Velde’s internationally recognized designs for homes, museums, and theaters are often associated with Art Nouveau and the Jugendstil; after 1900, he helped define the fields of modern architecture and design in the German Werkbund. He also laid the groundwork for the Bauhaus, which grew out of the applied and fine art schools he designed in Weimar. When van de Velde was exiled from Germany after the outbreak of World War I, he recommended that Walter Gropius succeed him as the director of the school. This long-awaited book, the first major work on van de Velde in English, positions him firmly as one of the 20th century’s most influential practitioners of design and architecture and a crucial voice within the modern movement.
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