Henry van de Velde – (1863-1957)

Henry van de Velde is a Belgian artist, architect, and interior designer who is considered one of the founders of the Art Nouveau style.

Henry van de Velde. Portrait photo
Henry van de Velde. Portrait photo

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/05e15df9-db3b-4ae9-8427-7a880e2f5ee1

About his life

Van de Velde Henry Clemens, known as Henry Van de Velde, was born in Belgium, in Antwerp, in 1863 and died in Switzerland in 1957. He was first trained as an artist in Antwerp, Belgium. Influenced by the theories of William Morris and the English Arts and Crafts movement, Van de Velde abandoned painting and turned his attention to architecture and applied arts. The construction of his home, Bloemenwerf, in Uccle near Brussels (1895) marked the beginning of a new career. For this house, he designed all the furniture and equipment.

Henry van de Velde - Self Portrait
Henry van de Velde – Self Portrait

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/771c1cc3-646f-4c23-b82c-189351e7ad01 by irinaraquel

M Neue Pinakothek 2005-08-14_143
M Neue Pinakothek- by Henry van de Velde

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/715b49cd-7259-4611-9e2d-34c9d3d06371 by oliworx

File:Coffee and tea service by Henry van de Velde, c. 1903-1904, silver, ivory, bakelite, 2 of 2 - Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt - Darmstadt, Germany - DSC00731.jpg
Coffee and tea service by Henry van de Velde, c. 1903-1904, silver, ivory, bakelite

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/2e94633f-86d9-49fe-8b09-68784fc08b94 by Daderot

In 1902 he was invited to Weimar, where he founded the School of Arts and Crafts, which he headed from 1906 to 1914. It later became the famous Bauhaus, the center of the Modernist Movement in Germany. A forerunner and theorist of Modernism and Functionalism, Henry van de Velde was a leading artist of the Art Nouveau movement as he developed an original yet contemporary style in architecture, furniture design, and crafts. He was known as the first Art Nouveau painter who worked in an abstract style and developed the concept of the union of form and function.

Bodenvase (Henry van de Velde) - Bröhan-Museum - Charlottenburg - Berlijn
Bodenvase (Henry van de Velde) – 1902-Bröhan-Museum – Charlottenburg – Berlijn

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/70613673-6d59-447c-a79d-c2df4b80716d by westher

What are his major works?

  • Bloemenwerf, Van de Velde’s first private residence, in Uccle, Belgium, 1895–96;
  • Interior of the Folkwang Museum in Hagen, Germany, 1900–02;
  • Villa Esche in Chemnitz, Germany, 1902–03, 1911 (extension);
  • Extension and interior decoration of the Nietzsche Archive in Weimar, Germany, 1903;
Bloemenwerf - Henry Van de Velde - 1896.jpg
Villa Bloemenwerf, 1896. Uccle, Belgio

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloemenwerf#/media/File:Bloemenwerf_-_Henry_Van_de_Velde_-_1896.jpg

Esche Villa im Winter
Esche Villa in Winter

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/2a6bf7e8-4f3e-45d3-8521-99c2a697c4b2 by gravitat-OFF

  • Van de Velde Building in Weimar, home of the art faculty of the Bauhaus-University, 1905-06;
  • Hohenhof, Mansion for Karl Ernst Osthaus in Hagen, Germany, 1907–08;
  • Werkbund-Theater, Theatre at the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition in Cologne, Germany, 1913–14;
  • Villa Schulenburg in Gera, Germany, 1913–14.
Weimar, Bauhaus - Kunstgewerbeschule Van-de-Velde Bau with Wartburg 353, DDR May 1990 ORWO UP15 Slide film
Weimar, Bauhaus

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/de843a90-190d-470a-b32b-8d4668618e85 by sludgegulper

Haus Schulenburg
Villa Schulenburg in Gera, 1913-1914, v. d. Velde

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/5b401a62-485d-4d1e-a784-ff6f10a7a727 by HaPe_Gera

Hohenhof (Henry Van de Velde) - Hagen
Hohenhof (Henry Van de Velde) – Hagen,Germany

Source image: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/48000f81-2a7b-435d-8f44-3222a86035d7 by westher

    • Writing desk and chair in oak, bronze, copper, and leather, with incorporated electrical lamps and metalwork fittings, 1898;
    • Wooden armchairs upholstered in leather, 1900.
  • Cover design of the 1908 Insel edition of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo;
File:Desk from the director's room of the Revue Blanche, by Henry van de Velde, 1899, walnut, leather, brass, view 1 - Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt - Darmstadt, Germany - DSC00711.jpg
Desk from the director’s room of the Revue Blanche, by Henry van de Velde, 1899

Source image: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/6a901fc6-eaac-488f-8454-763830699bfe by Daderot

File:Chair from the editorial staff room of the Revue Blanche, by Henry van de Velde, 1899, maple, cotton - Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt - Darmstadt, Germany - DSC00699.jpg
Chair from the editorial staff room of the Revue Blanche, by Henry van de Velde, 1899

Source image: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/5f8c42eb-4f69-450e-8c32-f30748600940 by Daderot

He published several books and essays on his original art theories:

  • Le Déblaiement d’Art (1895);
  • Renaissance in Arts and Crafts (1901);
  • Vom neuen Stil (1907).
Ecce Homo 1908.jpg
Cover design of the 1908 Insel edition of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo-1908

Source image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecce_Homo_(book)#/media/File:Ecce_Homo_1908.jpg

VELDE Henry van de. Tropon, Eiweiss Nahrung, 1897.
VELDE Henry van de. Tropon, Eiweiss Nahrung, 1897.

Source image:https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/3e05a74e-7958-4404-9141-847b784c4e05 by Halloween HJB

About his stile

Henry van de Velde 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. A man of many talents, he believed in the symbiosis of the arts, whether it was the design of a building or interior design, jewelry, fashion, or product design. In his architecture and furniture, dynamic lines work in contrast with massive forms. His Art Nouveau projects are among the most typical of the period. He was reproached for building his houses as if it was furniture. However, Henry Van de Velde is one of the Art Nouveau masters whose architectural images evoke emotions.

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