- Mackintosh, Charles Rennie
died Dec. 10, 1928, London, Eng.Scottish architect, furniture designer, and artist.A giant of the Arts and Crafts Movement, he is especially revered for his glass-and-stone studio building at the Glasgow School of Art (1896–1909), where he had attended classes. In the 1890s he achieved an international reputation creating unorthodox posters, craftwork, and furniture. Considered Britain's first designer of true Art Nouveau architecture, he produced work of an unrivaled lightness, elegance, and originality, as exemplified by four remarkable tearooms he designed in Glasgow (1896–1904). By 1914 he was dedicating all his energies to watercolour painting. The late 20th century saw a revival of interest in his work and the manufacture of reproductions of his chairs and settees, which were characterized by starkly simple geometric lines.
* * *▪ Scottish architect and designerborn June 7, 1868, Glasgowdied Dec. 10, 1928, LondonScottish architect and designer who was prominent in the Arts and Crafts Movement in Great Britain.He was apprenticed to a local architect, John Hutchinson, and attended evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1889 he joined the firm of Honeyman and Keppie, becoming a partner in 1904.In collaboration with three other students, one of whom, Margaret Macdonald, became his wife in 1900, Mackintosh achieved an international reputation in the 1890s as a designer of unorthodox posters, craftwork, and furniture. In contrast to contemporary fashion his work was light, elegant, and original, as exemplified by four remarkable tearooms he designed in Glasgow (1896–1904) and other domestic interiors of the early 1900s.Mackintosh's chief architectural projects were the Glasgow School of Art (1896–1909), considered the first original example of Art Nouveau architecture in Great Britain; two unrealized projects—the 1901 International exhibition, Glasgow (1898), and “Haus eines Kunstfreundes” (1901); Windyhill, Kilmacolm (1899–1901), and Hill House, Helensburgh (1902); the Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow (1904); and Scotland Street School (1904–06). Although all have some traditional characteristics, they reveal a mind of exceptional inventiveness and aesthetic perception. By 1914 he had virtually ceased to practice and thereafter devoted himself to watercolour painting.Although Mackintosh was nearly forgotten for several decades, the late 20th century saw a revival of interest in his work. The stark simplicity of his furniture designs, in particular, appealed to contemporary taste, and reproductions of Mackintosh chairs and settees began to be manufactured. The Mackintosh House in Glasgow was reconstructed and opened to the public as a museum in the late 1970s.Additional ReadingThomas Howarth, Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Modern Movement (1952; 2nd ed., 1977), is the standard work on the architecture, well supplemented by Roger Billcliffe, Charles Rennie Mackintosh: The Complete Furniture, Furniture Drawings, and Interior Designs (1979).
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