Henry van de Velde Passion Function Beauty 1863-1957

Werner Adriaenssens, Thomas Föhl, Sabine Walter

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract

Henry Van de Velde was a Belgian painter, architect and interior designer. Together with Victor Horta and Paul Hankar he could be considered as one of the main founders and representatives of Art Nouveau in Belgium.
Although a Belgian, Van de Velde would play an important role in the German Werkbund, an association founded to help improve and promote German design by establishing close relations between industry and designers. He would oppose Hermann Muthesius at the Werkbund meeting of 1914 and their debate would mark the history of Modern Architecture. Van de Velde called for the upholding of the individuality of artists while Hermann Muthesius called for standardization as a key to development.
During World War I, Van de Velde, as a foreign national, was obliged to leave Weimar (although on good terms with the Weimar government), and returned to his native Belgium. Later, he lived in Switzerland and in the Netherlands where he designed the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. In 1925 he was appointed professor at the Ghent University’s Institute of Art History and Archaeology, where he lectured architecture and applied arts from 1926 to 1936. He was instrumental in founding in Brussels, in 1926, today’s renowned architecture and visual arts school La Cambre, under the name of “Institut supérieur des Arts décoratifs.”
He continued his practice in architecture and design, which had demarcated itself significantly from the Art Nouveau phase, whose popularity was by 1910 in decline. During this period, he mentored the great Belgian architect, Victor Bourgeois. In 1933 he was commissioned to design the new building for the Ghent university library (the renowned Boekentoren). Construction started in 1936, but the work would not be completed until the end of the Second World War. For budget reasons, the eventual construction did not entirely match the original design. For instance, the reading room floor was executed in marble instead of the black rubber Van de Velde originally intended.
He died, aged 94, in Zürich.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLannoo
Number of pages304
ISBN (Print)9789401410953
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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