Henry van de Velde: The Artist as Designer
From Art Nouveau to Modernism
Occasional Papers, 2019
Henry van de Velde (1863–1957) is a towering figure in the history of modern design. Of prodigious range – he was equally at ease designing furniture and objects as entire buildings – he paved the way for the transition from Art Nouveau to Modernism, and proposed a model for design education that inspired the Bauhaus. This biography by graphic designer and historian Richard Hollis traces Van de Velde’s career from his beginnings as a painter in Antwerp to his trend-setter stature in European architecture and design at the turn of the twentieth century. Van de Velde emerges from Hollis’ biography as a strikingly contemporary figure, believing in the social power of art in an era of growing nationalism.