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J. M. Olbrich

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Works Sezession House, at Vienna, Austria, 1896.

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Biography J. M. Olbrich

(b. Silesia, Germany 1867; d. Dusseldorf, Germany 1908)

Joseph Maria Olbrich was born in Silesia, Germany in 1867. He studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and won the Rome Prize in his third year. After working in Otto Wagner's office for a short time, he travelled through Europe. When he returned to Vienna he helped form the Secession, an anti-traditionalist forum. Intent on creating "new" art, the Secessionists looked to British architects like Mackintosh and Baillie-Scott for inspiration and direction.

Notable for combining monumentality with delicacy, Olbrich relieved the formality of flat stucco buildings with organic detailing. In 1899 Olbrich was invited by the Grand Duke of Hesse to establish an Artists' Colony at Darmstadt in Germany where he created his own brand of rectilinear, wood-based Art Nouveau. His designs were an inspiration to such initiators of the Modern Movement as Frank Lloyd Wright.

Olbrich died in Dusseldorf in 1908.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p115.

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