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Richard Riemerschmid (German, 1868–1957)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

German designer, architect and painter. The son of a textile manufacturer, he studied painting at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Munich (1888–90); he painted primarily at the beginning and end of his career, and he was a member of the Munich Secession. In 1895 Riemerschmid designed his first furniture, in a neo-Gothic style, for his and his wife’s flat on Hildegardstrasse in Munich. In 1897 he exhibited furniture and paintings at the seventh Internationale Kunstausstellung held at the Glaspalast in Munich. Immediately following the exhibition, the committee members of the decorative arts section, including Riemerschmid and Hermann Obrist, founded the Vereinigte Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk. In 1898 Riemerschmid was commissioned to design a music room for the Munich piano manufacturer J. Mayer & Co., which was subsequently exhibited at the Deutsche Kunstausstellung exhibition in Dresden in 1899. The armchair and side chair, with its diagonal bracing, designed for this room, are some of his most original and best-known designs. In 1900 at the Exposition Universelle in Paris he exhibited another interior, the Room of an Art Lover, with a frieze and door surrounds of elaborate interlacing plasterwork. For the Dresden Workshop, founded in 1898 by his brother-in-law, Karl Schmidt (1873–1948), Riemerschmid designed (c. 1905) his innovative and influential set of machine-made furniture. Available in suites of living room, bedroom and kitchen furniture and in a range of prices, the individual components were machine-made and then assembled by hand. Shown for the first time at the third Deutsche Kunstgewerbeausstellung in Dresden (1906), it was hailed by critics for its simplicity of style and purpose. In 1907 Riemerschmid was one of the founder-members of the Deutscher werkbund in Munich. It was established to promote German design and many of its ideals were taken up later by the Bauhaus. At the Werkbundausstellung of 1914 Riemerschmid exhibited a living room.

As well as his schemes for interiors, Riemerschmid produced a number of designs for buildings, mostly country houses such as his family house (1896) at Pasing, near Munich, which combined German vernacular elements with the influence of the English Arts and Crafts Movement. In 1900–01 he designed the interiors for the Munich Schauspielhaus, one of the finest Jugendstil buildings in Germany, and in 1909 he produced designs for the garden city that grew up around the Deutscher Werkbund in Hellerau in Dresden. From 1913 until 1924 Riemerschmid was the director of the Kunstgewerbschule in Munich and from 1926 to 1931 the director of the Werkschulen in Cologne. He was also chairman of the Deutscher Werkbund from 1921 until 1926. Riemerschmid’s designs for industry include lamps for K. König, Munich, glassware for Benedikt von Poschinger, Oberswieselau, a porcelain coffee and dinner service (1903–5) for the Meissen Porcelain Factory, and stoneware for the Reinhold Merkelbach Company, Grenzhausen.

Donna Corbin
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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