Henry Van de Velde

Henry Van de Velde (3 April 1863 – 15 October 1957) was a Belgian painter, architect and interior designer. Together with Victor Horta he can be considered one of the main founders and representatives of the Art Nouveau.

Van de Velde studied painting in Antwerp and Paris. He painted in neo-impressionist style; in 1889 he became a member of the Brussels-based artist group "Les Vingt".


Chemnitz, Germany: Villa EscheFrom 1892, he abandoned painting and devoted himself to decoration and architecture. His own house, Bloemenwerf in Uccle, was inspired by the English arts and crafts movement. He also designed interiors and furniture for the influential exhibition "Art Nouveau", organized by Samuel Bing in Paris in 1895. Van de Velde was one of the first architects and furniture designers who worked in the abstract style with curved lines that would become characteristic for the Art Nouveau.

Around the turn of the century, Van de Velde designed a number of buildings in Germany, including the Folkwang Museum in Hagen (today the building houses the Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum). He also became the founder of the Kunstgewerbeschule and art academy in Weimar, the predecessor of the Bauhaus that would be developed further by Walter Gropius. Furthermore, Van de Velde was closely related to the Deutscher Werkbund.


Book Tower of UGentDuring World War I, he lived in Switzerland and in the Netherlands, where he designed the Kröller-Müller Museum in Otterlo. From 1926 to 1936, Van de Velde was professor at Ghent University, where he became the architect of the university library (the so-called Boekentoren or Book Tower).