Bruno Paul (1874 – 1968) German architect, cabinetmaker, designer, and teacher

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4 Eßstühle , ca. 1930–1939 designed by Bruno Paul (German, 1874–1968)
4 Eßstühle , ca. 1930–1939 designed by Bruno Paul (German, 1874–1968)

Bruno Paul (1874 – 1968) was a German architect, cabinetmaker, designer, and teacher. He was born in Seifhennersdorf. 

Education

He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Dresden, from 1886 and painting at the Akademie fur Kunst, Munich, under Paul Hocker and Wilhelm von Diez, from 1894. 

Biography

In 1892, he settled in Munich; following the lead of Koloman Moser’s and Josef Hoffmann’s Wiener Werkstatte, with Peter Behrens, Hermann Obrist, Bernhard Pankok, and Richard Riemerschmid and others founded the Münchner Vereinigte Werkstatten für Kunst im Handwerk (The Munich United Workshops for Art in Handwork). They were aiming to sell everyday objects designed by Modern artists.

Mies van der Rohe, who moved to Berlin in 1905, was an apprentice to Paul until 1907. In 1908, Paul designed simple, practical Typenmöbel (batch-production furniture) for the Deutsche Werkstatten, of which he was a founder. The furniture embodied the most elegant style achievable through machine production. 

Karl Schmidt’s factory Dresdner Werkstätten fur Handwerkkunst produced some of Paul’s furniture designs. He contributed illustrations to the journal Jugend, which lent its name to Jugendstil, and the Munich magazine Simplicissimus.

Dressing table ca. 1924 designed by Bruno Paul
Dressing table ca. 1924 designed by Bruno Paul

In 1907, Paul became one of the founders of the Deutscher Werkbund and, in 1906, principal of the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin, where he was director 1924-33. It was renamed the Vereinigte Staatsschulen für freie und angewandte Künst in Berlin-Charlottenburg and had a great influence on the development of industrial design in Germany. 

He designed the interiors of the 1909 oceanliner Kronprinzessin Cecelie. He taught Walter von Nessen, Peter Muller-Munk, and Kem Weber the importance of careful artistry in the tradition of the Werkbund and Vienna Secession aesthetics.

Paul designed furniture in both neo-Biedermeier and Modern styles. 

Architectural Style

His architecture developed from an amalgam of Italian Renaissance, Jugendstil, Art Deco, and the International Style. As a practising architect and designer, he rendered interiors in c1910 that had the lyrical feel of watercolours of the 1820s and 1830s. His architecture included the Hainerberg House (before 1909), near Konigstein, am Taunus; 

The so-called "Kathreiner-Hochhaus" in Berlin, 1928–30
The so-called “Kathreiner-Hochhaus” in Berlin, 1928–30

Putzsche Sanitorium (before 1909), near Bonn; 

  • 1914 Asiatische Museum, Dahlem, Berlin; 
  • 1914 ‘Deutscher Werkbund-Ausstellung’ buildings, Cologne: 
  • 1925 Das Platten-haus, Hellerau; 
  • 1929-30 Kathereinerhochhaus, Kleistpark, Berlin: and 
  • 1935 Traub House, near Prague. 

Exhibitions

He designed the Jugendstil Hunting Room at the 1900 Paris ‘Exposition Universelle’. His work was shown at the 1904 St. Louis ‘Louisiana Purchase Exposition,’ 1910 Brussels ‘Exposition Universelle et Internationale.’ He designed a room setting at the 1928 ‘Exposition of Art in Industry at Macy’s department store in New York. 

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing.

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