HENRY VAN DE VELDE AND THE SEARCH AFTER PURE FORM

HENRY VAN DE VELDE AND THE SEARCH AFTER PURE FORM refugium berlin

On Friday November 15 the Werkbund Galerie in Berlin will open the exhibition Die Suche nach der Reinen Form – der Architekt Henry van de Velde / The Search After Pure Form– the Architect Henry van de Velde, on the occasion of 150th birthday of the Belgium-born painter, architect and designer, who was also to become one of the Werkbund’s most famous and influential members. Already the number of events that has been organized all over Germany this year to honor the legacy of Van de Velde (1863- 1957), may indicate his tremendous importance for the country’s design history, and therefore also for design history in general. The man who became mainly known as the leading representative of Art Nouveau, but also westernized the idea of the ‘pure line’, and is therefore considered to be the ‘inventor’ of abstract art, to mention only a few of his merits, already had a cult status when he established himself with his family in Berlin in 1900. But he didn’t stay long. Two years later, he moved to Weimar, where he became of the founders of the German Werkbund in 1907, and the director of the Kunstgewerbeschule Weimar that very same year, pioneering what was later to become Bauhaus, the most important design school ever. The exhibition at the Werkbund Galerie takes his dream to create a Museum of Pure Form as a starting point, one of his many plans that remained unrealized. And although his position towards the industry was far less enthusiast and far more ambiguous than that of the other Werkbund-members, he played a decisive role in the association of German artists, architects, designers, and industrialists that was to lead the country into Modern Times through the ideal of Good Form, his Theaterbau being one of the highlights of the famous 1914 Werkbund exhibition in Cologne, next to the work of Walter Gropius and the Glashaus of Bruno Taut. Mainly because of historical and political reasons, the self-taught architect would mainly develop into one a leading modernists in Belgium and the Netherlands in the decades that followed. The Werkbund exhibition tries to give an evolution of that architectural career, highlighting some virtual reconstructions of buildings and other projects, that were recently created by the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar to honor its Ehrensenator. On November 30 Michael Kraus, co-curator of the exhibition, will give a guided tour through the retrospective, as part of the conference „Henry van de Velde 1913 – Abgesang des Jugendstils?“, organized by the arts department Freie Universität Berlin. This image shows a simulation of the Belgian pavilion created by Van de Velde for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris. Die Suche nach der Reinen Form – der Architekt Henry van de Velde / The Search After Pure Form– the Architect Henry van de Velde, runs from November 16 until December 13, at the Werkbund Galerie, Goethestraße 13, Berlin. (mb)www.geschkult.fu-berlin.de/e/khi/veranstaltungen/velde_tagung.html.http://www.werkbund-berlin.de/

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