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.