Henry van de Velde

Belgian architect, designer and painter. After studying painting in Antwerp and Paris, Van de Velde turned to the decorative arts in the early 1890s inspired by William Morris. He was opposed to historicism and created designs based on flowing, abstract forms. in 1895 he built and decorated a house in Brussels, Bloemenwerf, for himself and his wife. He met Siegfried Bing and designed rooms for his gallery in Paris. Following an exhibition of Bing’s rooms in Dresden in 1897, and partly as a result of the dealer’s increasing preference for French styles, Van de Velde moved to Germany. He received commissions in Berlin and met his patron Karl Ernst Osthaus in 1900. He helped found the Deutsche Werkbund in 1907, but clashed with the critic Hermann Muthesius because Van de Velde saw standardisation as a threat to the creativity of the individual artist.

Henri Toulouse -Lautrec

French painter and graphic artist. Toulouse -Lautrec began painting in Paris in the 1880s and studied under the Symbolist Emile Bernard, exhibiting at the Salon des Independants from 1889. in 1891 he designed his first posters, for which he received widespread acclaim. His posters brought his stylised representations of decadent Parisian life to a broad public.

Louis Comfort Tiffany

American designer. Son of the silversmith Charles Lewis Tiffany, he trained as a painter in the 1860s with the artist Samuel Coleman. Tiffany began working with glass in 1873. In 1879 he established Associated Artists, designing opulent interiors for wealthy East Coast families. He set up Tiffany Glass and Decorating Co (later Tiffany Studios) in 1892, and in 1894 registered his Favrile glass patent. Tiffany had close ties with European Art Nouveau: he made a series of windows designed by leading French artists in 1895, and his lamps and glassware appeared at the Paris gallery of Siegfried Bing three years later. His signature leaded glass lamps were first shown in 1899. In 1902 he became design director of the family silver firm Tiffany & Co. He turned to jewellery around 1904.

Louis Henry Sullivan

American architect. Sullivan studied in Boston and worked for Frank Furness in Philadelphia, before joining the engineer Dankmar Adler in 1880, where he became a partner in 1883. In the late 1880s they built steel -framed skyscrapers that combined Adler’s engineering skills with Sullivan’s decorative genius. His stylised forms derived from the Gothic Revival, yet they offered a radical new style for modern buildings and constituted a uniquely American Art Nouveau. Sullivan’s retrospective explanation of his ideas, the System of Architectural Ornament (1924), reveals an element of mysticism.

Gustave Serrurier-Bovy

Belgian architect and designer. Serrurier trained in Liege in the 1870s, where he encountered the teachings of John Ruskin, William Morris and Eugene -Ernmanuel Viollet -le -Duc. In 1884 he set up a company in Liege selling imported wares and his own furniture. Serrurier exhibited at La Libre Esthetique in 1894 and 1895, and in 1897 he contributed to the Congo pavilion at the Brussels Universal Exposition. He opened a branch of his business in Paris in the same year. The Pavilion Bleu, a restaurant built for the Paris Universal Exposition 0f 1900, was one of the few examples of unrestrained Art Nouveau architecture. After visiting Darmstadt in 1901 he adopted more simplified forms.

Fyodor Schechtel

Russian architect and designer. After studying in Moscow, Schechtel worked for the architect A Kaminsky, a member of the Mir Iskusstva artists’ group.’His early work combined traditionaI styles with Art Nouveau to create a specifically Russian variant. Between 1900 and 1902 he built mansions in Moscow, and in 1901 designed the Russian pavilions at the Glasgow International exhibition. His office was behind the 1902 New Style exhibition in Moscow, which showcased Western and Russian designers

Richard Riemerschmid

German architect and designer. Though he trained as a painter at the Munich Academy, Riemerschmid was best known for his furniture designs, which he turned to in 1895 after being inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement. I n 1897 he co -founded the Vereinigte Werkstatte fur Kunst im Handiwork. He displayed an interior scheme, the ‘Room for an Art Lover’, at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition, and in 1901 he designed one of Munich’s most celebrated fin -de -siecle buildings, the Schauspielhaus. In 1903 he joined the Dresden Werkstatte. His designs betrayed a simplicity that set them apart from more elaborate Art Nouveau, and his series of Machinenmobel (‘machine -made furniture’), first exhibited in 1906, showed his engagement with modern manufacturing. In 1907 he helped found the Deutsche Werkbund.

Bernhard Pankok

German painter, architect and designer. Pankok trained as a painter in Munster and moved to Munich in 1892. After some time as a portraitist, he began contributing to Jugend and Pan. He turned to furniture design in 1897, and in the same year he helped set up the Vereinigte Werkstatten fur Kunst im Handwerk. In 1899 he created adventurous Jugendstil furniture for the villa of Hermann Obrist. Pankok exhibited at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition, and in 1901 he moved to Stuttgart, where he lectured and continued his design and architectural career.

Joseph Maria Olbrich

Like Josef Hoffmann Olbrich worked in the office of Otto Wagner in Vienna from 1894, becoming chief assistant in 1896. in 1897 he was involved in founding the Secession, and his design for the Secession Building, begun 1898, announced the importance of the classicism in Viennese fin -de -siecle architecture. in 1899 he was invited to join the artists’ colony at Darmstadt, where he designed a series of houses, studios and galleries. Olbrich helped set up the Deutsche Werkbund in Munich in 1907.

Hermann Obrist

Swiss-German designer. Perhaps the pivotal figure in the development of Jugendstil in Munich, Obrist encountered the Arts and Crafts Movement when travelling in Britain in 1887, where he trained as a ceramicist. His work gained a gold medal at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. Following his move to Munich in 1894, Obrist came to prominence in 1896 with an exhibition of thirty -five embroideries that exemplified his abstract approach to nature in art. A founder of the Munich Vereinigte Werkstatten fur Kunst im Handwork in 1897, he was also a prolific writer and teacher. His ideas about abstraction influenced the Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky.

William Morris

English designer, writer and socialist. Trained as an architect, Morris mixed in Pre -Raphaelite circles before founding his own firm in 1861, which became Morris & Co in 1875. Through his ideas on utility and beauty in design, coupled with his socialist principles, he became the defining figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement. He drew on medieval motifs and designed furniture, stained glass, wallpaper and fabrics. His use of stylised flora] and organic forms in his patterns was influential in the evolution of Art Nouveau, and his ideas on the primacy of craftsmanship also had resonance for many Art Nouveau artists. However, his deep distrust of modernity, encapsulated in his novel News from Nowhere (1890) seemed retrograde to those who sought to exploit new materials and modern methods of production.

Louis Majorelle

French designer. Majorelle took over his family’s cabinet -making business in Nancy in 1879, where he continued the firm’s production of Neo -Rococo furniture. Influenced by Emile Galle he developed a style characterized by heavy abstracted organic carving embellished with gilt -bronze mounts. in the 1890s he worked with Daum Freres to produce lamps and vases. His furniture was well received at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition, and the years around this time represented the height of his achievement. He turned to mechanised production after 1908, but his factory was destroyed in World War 1.