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Charles Rennie Mackintosh (British, 1868–1928)

Introduction

Source: Oxford University Press

Scottish architect, designer and painter. In the pantheon of heroes of the Modern Movement, he has been elevated to a cult figure, such that the importance of his late 19th-century background and training in Glasgow are often overlooked. He studied during a period of great artistic activity in the city that produced the distinctive Glasgow style. As a follower of A. W. N. Pugin and John Ruskin, he believed in the superiority of Gothic over Classical architecture and by implication that moral integrity in architecture could be achieved only through revealed construction. Although Mackintosh’s buildings refrain from overt classicism, they reflect its inherent discipline. His profound originality was evident by 1895, when he began the designs for the Glasgow School of Art. His decorative schemes, particularly the furniture, also formed an essential element in his buildings. During Mackintosh’s lifetime his influence was chiefly felt in Austria, in the work of such painters as Gustav Klimt and such architects as Josef Hoffmann and Joseph Maria Olbrich. The revival of interest in his work was initiated by the publication of monographs by Pevsner (1950) and Howarth (1952). The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society was formed in Glasgow in 1973; it publishes a biannual newsletter, has a reference library and organizes exhibitions. The Hunterian Art Gallery, University of Glasgow, which opened in 1981, holds the Mackintosh estate of drawings, watercolours and archival material as well as a collection of his furniture; the Glasgow School of Art and the Glasgow Art Gallery also have important collections.

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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