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Henry van de Velde and Japanese Anonymous Design

Tsuruta, Etsuko;


At the beginning of the twentieth century, some architects abandoned the use of period styles and started designing using their own personal styles. They were subject to various influences, but one of the most important was that of Japanese art and design. Henry van de Velde was one of those artists who was strongly influenced by Japanese art and design. He was a painter for the first 10 years of his career but then changed his field to applied arts. Although masterpieces by well-known ukiyo-e painters such as Hokusai or Hiroshige were very influential for many artists, such as Vincent van Gogh, other anonymous Japanese designs seem to have been even more significant for van de Velde. The firm curve of katagami (stencil paper) is considered one of the most important sources for the restrained curve in van de Velde’s Art Nouveau designs. However, the kamon (family crest), another anonymous Japanese design, was also important to van de Velde. Various Japanese kamon were designed by unknown artisans from about the 8th century onwards. As with European coats of arms, kamon were initially held only by aristocratic families but were gradually adopted by commoners. Undoubtedly, he adapted a kamon, Tied Wild Geese, for his Tropon (1898) design, and perhaps also adapted Hawk Feathers for the cover of Also Sprach Zarathustra (1908). Monograms by van de Velde, designed for his own use and for his clients, seem to have had something to do with his interest in Japanese kamon and their usage. He emphasised the authorship of his designs by using these monograms. He was one of the most representative designers of the age of personal style. He even used monograms on an interior wall of a building he designed, as if it were one of his paintings. It is significant that van de Velde, who attached importance to authorship and emphasised his own personal style, learnt from anonymous designs such as kamon or katagami that had been designed by unknown artisans and were used by lesser-known workshops or the families of traditional Japanese society.


Palavras-chave: Henry van de Velde, authorship, anonymous design, kamon (family crest), monogram,


DOI: 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0066

Referências bibliográficas
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Como citar:

Tsuruta, Etsuko; "Henry van de Velde and Japanese Anonymous Design", p. 465-470 . In: Tradition, Transition, Tragectories: major or minor influences? [=ICDHS 2014 - 9th Conference of the International Committee for Design History and Design Studies]. São Paulo: Blucher, 2014.
ISSN 2318-6968, DOI 10.5151/despro-icdhs2014-0066

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