Olbrich, Joseph M.
Seller ID: 1890
Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth, . First edition, one hundred and fifty plates in two portfolio volumes (Vol. 1: (1), 2 - 40, 42- 75; Vol. 2: 76- 122, 124- 150; two additional plates numbered ‘6’ and ’47’). Large folio (49 cm) in maroon publisher’s cloth, gilt decoration, ties; architectural drawings, plans, designs, watercolour renditions, coloured photographic images on heavy paper. Featuring window and door treatments, lamps and lighting design, gates, door-knobs, stairways, unsw., of Olbrich Haus, Gluckert Haus, Ernst Ludwig Haus, Doppelwohnhaus, a small house for Princess Elizabeth of Hesse, a recital hall and a number of other projects in Darmstadt whence Olbrich moved from Vienna at the behest of Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse, who founded an artists’ colony in that city in southwest Germany. Just before the turn of the century, Joseph Maria Olbrich (1867- 1908), together with Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffman, and Koloman Moser, founded the Vienna art nouveau Secessionist, or Jugenstil, movement whose statement of principle (“Der Zeit Ihre Kunst/ Der Kunst Ihre Fretheit”) was expressed in Olbrich’s Secession Hall, featuring Klimt’s extraordinary, 700 square-foot Beethoven Frieze. Olbrich designed many private houses, right down to the smallest details, as illustrated in this collection of 150 plates. Wasmuth issued a number of collections illustrative of Olbrich’s work, apparently as many as six, each comprising 75 plates, totalling 450 plates in all. We offer here the first two in the Wasmuth series of Olbrich’s work. The portfolios are rubbed, worn, and somewhat loose; but they are fairly clean and intact. The plates’ heavy paper is becoming a bit dry and brittle at the edges, and two or three plates show a mild tide line in a lower corner, but every image, set in wide margins, is clear and bright. These volumes were originally the property of the St. Louis architectural firm of R[ockwell]. M. Milligan whose principal undoubtedly saw Olbrich’s work (and perhaps met the man himself) at the St. Louis World’s Fair of 1904. Indeed, Milligan’s work for the St. Louis schools (e.g., the Dewey School) reflects an interest in the innovative style. Another American, Frank Lloyd Wright, Olbrich’s exact but longer lived contemporary, reported on his encounter with Olbrich’s work during a tour of European cultural sites. In 2010 Vienna’s Leopold Museum exhibited works from the Art Nouveau Secessionist period; Total Design, published in German in 1988, surveys the work, with more than 600 illustrations of its more important artists and designers. In about thirty libraries worldwide and quite scarce.
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