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.

Portrait of Henry van de Velde in black and white.
Portrait of Henry van de Velde

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 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, he abandoned painting and turned his attention to architecture and applied arts. The construction of his home, Bloemenwerf, in Uccle (1895) marked the beginning of a new career. For this house, he designed all the furniture and equipment.

M Neue Pinakothek- by Henry van de Velde: A landscape painting of a path along a forest.
M Neue Pinakothek by Henry van de Velde

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

Coffee and tea service by Henry van de Velde, c. 1903-1904, silver, ivory, bakelite.
Coffee and tea service set (1903-1904) by Henry van de Velde

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. Later, it became the famous Bauhaus, which was the center of the Modernist Movement in Germany. A forerunner and theorist of Modernism and Functionalism, Van de Velde 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) - 1902-Bröhan-Museum - Charlottenburg - Berlijn.
Bodenvase (1902)

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

Major Architecture Works

  • Bloemenwerf: Van de Velde’s first private residence, in Uccle, Belgium, (1895–96)
  • Interior of the Folkwang Museum: Located in Hagen, Germany (1900–02)
  • Villa Esche: Extension of the original construction, which is located in Chemnitz, Germany (1902–03, 1911)
  • Nietzsche Archive: Extension and interior decoration of the structure located in Weimar, Germany (1903)
Villa Bloemenwerf (1896) in Uccle, Belgio: A black and white photo of the structure.
Villa Bloemenwerf (1896) in Uccle, Belgio

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

Esche Villa during Winter.
Esche Villa in Winter

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

  • Van de Velde Building: Home of the art faculty of the Bauhaus-University located in Weimar (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: Located in Gera, Germany (1913–14)
Weimar, Bauhaus: A black and white photo of the simple structure with two floors, and three rectangular windows on each floor.
Weimar, Bauhaus

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

Villa Schulenburg in Gera, 1913-1914, v. d. Velde: A large estate with a dark roof and medium brick siding.
Villa Schulenburg (1913-1914) in Gera by v. d. Velde

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

Hohenhof (Henry Van de Velde) - Hagen,Germany.
Hohenhof by Henry Van de Velde in Hagen,Germany

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

Major Furniture Works

  • 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 edition of Fredrich Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo
Desk from the director's room of the Revue Blanche, by Henry van de Velde, 1899.
Desk from the director’s room of the Revue Blanche (1899)

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

Chair from the editorial staff room of the Revue Blanche, by Henry van de Velde, 1899.
Chair from the editorial staff room of the Revue Blanch (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)
Cover design of the 1908 Insel edition of Friedrich Nietzsche's Ecce Homo-1908
Cover design of the 1908 edition of Friedrich Nietzsche’s Ecce Homo (1908)

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

Henry van de Velde, Tropon, Eiweiss Nahrung, 1897.
Henry van de Velde, Tropon, Eiweiss Nahrung (1897)

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

Features of His Style

Henry Van de Velde designed a vast range of items, such as interior decorations, furniture, ceramics, metalwork, and jewelry. Often, 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. His Art Nouveau projects are among the most typical of the period. In addition, he was reproached for building his houses as if it was furniture. However, he is one of the Art Nouveau masters whose architectural images evoke emotions.

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