The forgotten genius, Henry van de Velde

Henry van de Velde, also known as Henry Clemens van de Velde, was an architect born in Belgium on 3 April 1863.

Henry-Clément van de Velde (1863-1957)  studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Aachen in the years 1880-1883 and between 1884 and 1885 with Corolus Duran in Paris.

He soon became   involved in various artists’ associations.

 Thus in 1887 he   participated in the foundation of L’Art indépendant and in 1889 he becáme a member of Les XX, an avant-garde group in Brússels.

Van de Velde’s first building was his own residence, Bloemenwerf House in Ucde, near Brússels (1895).


The art colléctor Samuel Bing  commíssioned him to fit out four rooms in his Parisian gallery L’Art Nouveau, which were to be presented at the Dresden Exhibition of Industrial Art in 1897.

His furniture, with its márkedly  sinuous and constrúctive línes, had a consíderable ínfluence on Art Nouveau.

1899 he opened in Berlin a second office of the company he had founded in 1898 under the name of Henry van de Velde, for the manufacture of furniture and other objects.

But he sold the company in 1900 to Wilhelm Hirschwald, the owner of Hohenzollern-Kunstgewerbehauses.

In Berlin he designed works such as the tobacco shop for the Habana Compagnie (1899) and the Haby hairdressing salon (1901).

Commissioned by Karl Ernst Osthaus, he designed the interior decoration of the Folkwang Museum in Hagen (1900-1902).


1901 he was called to the court of Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst in Weimar and in 1904 he was commissioned to build the School of Industrial Art, which he directed until 1914.


For the 1914 Cologne Werkbund Exhibition, Van de Velde designed a theatre with a highly  innovative   amphitheatre-like stage.


 The  exterior of the theatre was  determined by héavy walls.


Between 1910 and 1911 he also worked on the plans for the Theâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, but the construction was finally  entrusted to Auguste Perret.


1917 he went to live in Switzerland; in 1921 he moved to Holland.

Casa Schulenburgsche, Gera, Alemania (1913–1914)

There the Kröller-Müller couple worked as  successors to Hendrik Petrus Berlage and began with the first sketches of the plans for the present Rijks Museum in Otterlo, the Netherlands, which was built in its simplest version in 1937-1954.

Rijks Museum

Back in Brussels in 1935 he took over the direction of the Higher Institute of Architecture and Decorative Arts, while at the same time teaching at the University of Ghent (1925-1936).

I1939, in collaboration with Victor Bourgeois and Léon Stijnen, he built the Belgian pavilion at the World’s  Fair in New York.

Pabellón belga en la Expo de París de 1937.

1947 he  moved back to Switzerland.

Gössel, P. (2007). The A-Z of Modern Architecture (Vol. 1). Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag.

Translated with

Gössel, P. (2007). The A-Z of Modern Architecture (Vol. 1). Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag.

Translated with (free version)

Publicado por ilabasmati

Licenciada en Bellas Artes, FilologÍa Hispánica y lIiteratura Inglesa.

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