Frederick Kiesler (1890 – 1965) Austrian architect designer

Frederick Kiegler - chair MoMA

Frederick Kiesler (1890 – 1965) was an Austrian architect designer. He was professionally active in Vienna and New York.

Education

Between 1910 -1912 he studied at the Akademie de bildenden Künste. Between 1912 -1914 he studied at the Technische Hocschule, both in Vienna.

Biography

From 1920, he collaborated briefly with Adolf Loos. in the 1920s. He designed theatre sets and interiors; in 1923, he joined the group De Sujl and, in the same year, developed the design of his ‘Endless’ house and theatre. The concept was based on an egg shape and featured a flexible interior, inexpensive heating, and fewer joints. He was closely associated with group G, founded by Werner Graeff, Hans Richter, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. He created the 1924 L+T (Leger und Trager) hanging system for galleries and museums; was artistic director and architect of 1924 ‘International Exhibition of New Theater Technique,’ Konzerthaus, Vienna; was architect and director of the Austrian pavilion, designing its theatre and architecture sections, at 1925 Paris ‘Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes’; in 1926, moved to the USA; 1926—28, was in partnership with Harvey Wiley Corbett in New York; 1930—c1933, member of AUDAC (American Union of Decorative Artists and Craftsmen); 1934-37, director of scenic design, Julliard School of Music, New York; 1936—42, director of Laboratory for Design Correlation, School of Architecture, Colum- bia University, New York; directed the installation of 1947 ‘Exposition Internationale de Surréalisme,’ Paris; from 1956—62, was in partnership with Armand Bartos in New York.

Interior Design

Although he built few buildings, his inventions influenced architects and artists. From 1936, he concentrated on interior and furniture design; in 1937, designed his space house; designed furniture which included the biomorphic 1935—38 Two-Part Nesting Tables in cast aluminum and 1942 Multi-Use Rocker and Multi-Use Chair for Peggy Guggenheim’s 1942 Art of This Century gallery, New York, in which Kiesler put Surrealist canvases to spatial use. Originally intended for mass production, the Two-Part Nesting Tables were put into production by New York gallery Jason McCoy in 1990 and subsequently produced in Italy.

Exhibitions

Work subject of 1975 exhibition, Vienna; and 1990 and 1992 exhibitions, Jason McCoy gallery, New York; 1988 ‘Friedrich Kiesler—Visionar, 1890-1965’ exhibition, Museum moderner Kunst, Vienna, and traveling. Work (drawings) shown at 1982 ‘Shape and Environment: Furniture by American Architects,’ Whit- ney Museum of American Art, Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

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