Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Glasgow 1868 - London 1928

An architect, designer, painter, and graphic artist, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was born in Glasgow in 1868. He was one of the leading lights of the late 19th-century British Arts and Crafts movement. Charles Rennie Mackintosh served an apprenticeship to the architect John Hutchinson in Glasgow while also enrolled in evening courses in drawing and painting at the Glasgow School of Art. From 1899 until 1913, Charles Rennie Mackintosh worked in the architectural practice of Honeyman & Keppie. In 1894 Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald, whom he later married, founded the "Glasgow Four" with Margaret's sister Frances, and Herbert MacNair, a group that was later dubbed the "Spook School".
In 1896 the Glasgow Four showed their crafts objects and furniture at the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in London. Charles Rennie Mackintosh built several public buildings and private houses in Glasgow and environs. In 1897 Charles Rennie Mackintosh began to work on the new building for the Glasgow School of Art (finished in 1909). Some of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's projects were conceived and realised as total works of art, with the architect equally concerned with designing the entire interior, including textiles and furnishings.
Hill House dates from 1902-03, one of the most important interiors designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh was the Glasgow Tea Room in Buchanan Street (1896) and Argyle Street (1897), which Charles Rennie Mackintosh decorated jointly with George Walton for Catherine Cranston. The tearooms in Ingram Street and Willow Street, however, were entirely Charles Rennie Mackintosh's own work.
In 1900 Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his group were invited to show their work at the VIIIth exhibition of the Viennese Secession. Their designs, especially those of Charles Rennie Macintosh, exerted a profound influence on German and Austrian exponents of Jugendstil. Contact with Charles Rennie Mackintosh was crucial for Josef Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, and Koloman Moser in particular. Charles Rennie Mackintosh was awarded a special prize at the 1901 competition "Haus eines Kunstfreundes" ("House for an Art Lover") mounted by Alexander Koch. In 1902 Charles Rennie Mackintosh was commissioned by Fritz Wärndorfer, who would become the paramount backer of the Wiener Werkstätte the following year, to design a music room. In 1914 Charles Rennie Mackintosh went to London to design textiles for Foxton's and Sefton's.
Charles Rennie Mackintosh's later works are, unlike his earlier designs, which were organic in conception, distinguished by a stringently geometric style, which often unites the opposites light and dark, black and white, masculine and feminine, modern and traditional. In 1923 Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret moved to Port Vendres in Brittany, where he devoted himself to painting in watercolor.

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Peter Dreher
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