Haus eines Kunstfreundes: Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Leopold Bauer

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Edition Axel Menges, 2002 - Art - 159 pages
Text in English and German. In 1902 the Darmstadt publisher Alexander Koch issued a series of three large-format portfolios after an editorial competition on the subject of an 'art-lover's house'. These are among the most exquisite examples of the model collections that architects and designers used to develop their skills from the 19th century onwards. This lavishly conceived art-lover's house was intended to be in the 'new style', a high-quality alternative to Art Nouveau, which had become over-popularised and formulaic. Interior and exterior had to be matched to each other in terms of design. For this reason, particular attention was paid to the decoration of the rooms, which were presented in subtle water-colour tones. All three suggestions show a strikingly personal approach, while at the same time addressing new tendencies that were emerging around 1900. These portfolios became famous because of the artists involved, especially the Scot Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald. In fact the two had been eliminated from the competition for formal reasons, but their designs were published because the quality was so high, along with the work of the two winners, Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, a representative of the English Arts and Crafts movement, and Leopold Bauer, a pupil of Otto Wagner. One particularly interesting feature of the story of these portfolios is that the three artists were hardly known at the time of the competition. They were more or less discoveries based on the publisher's expertise, Hermann Muthesius's skills as a mediator on the European art scene, and the patronage of the Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig von Hessen und bei Rhein, who founded the artists' colony on the Mathildenhohe in Darmstadt. The designs were never realised, but the participants made a whole series of contacts afterwards, leading to other buildings and interior decoration projects.

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