Henri Clemens VAN DE VELDE
Belgian architect, decorator, furniture designer and writer
Along with architect Victor Horta, Henri van de Velde was very influential in the birth of Belgian Art Nouveau Style. He first trained as a painter in Antwerp, Belgium, and later studied architecture and applied arts. In 1895 he built his own house in Brussels.
He published several books and essays on his original art theories, such as "Le Déblaiement d'Art" (1895), "Renaissance in Arts and Crafts" (1901) and "Vom neuen Stil" (1907).
In 1896 he presented his furniture works in Samuel Bing's gallery "L'Art Nouveau" in Paris and became internationally known.|
In 1898 he became member of the avant-garde group "Les Vingt" in Brussels, where he familiarized with the English Arts and Crafts Movement and the works of William Morris (working as his representative).
He mainly worked in Germany, where he was very appreciated and in 1900 he opened in Berlin a branch of his Brussels workshop. In 1902 he was invited to Weimar to establish the Arts and Crafts School, which he directed from 1906 to 1914 and which would later become the famous Bauhaus, the center of the Modernist Movement in Germany.
Forerunner and theoretician of modernism and functionalism, Henri van de Velde, was a leading artist of the Art Nouveau movement, as he elaborated a personal but contemporary style in architecture, furniture design and crafts works. He was know as the first Art Nouveau artists to work in an abstract style and developed the concept of the union of form and function.
He designed a vast range of items, such as architecture works and whole interior decorations, furniture, ceramics, metalwork and jewelry. His furniture designs are linear, highly detailed by innovative decorations and expressive ornamental designs, tempered by strong traditional elements.
Van de Velde House, Brussels, Belgium (1895);
Havana Company Store, Berlin, Germany (1899); Interior of Folkwang Museum, Hagen (1900); University Library, Ghent, Belgium (1935).
Writing desk and chair in oak, bronze, copper and leather, with incorporated electrical lamps and metalwork fittings (c.1898); Wooden armchairs upholstered in leather (c.1900).