Joseph Maria Olbrich

22.12.1867 Troppau 08.08.1908 Düsseldorf Architekt, Entwerfer für angewandte Kunst, Zeichner

The universal artist Joseph Maria Olbrich is one of the most prominent representatives of the reform movement around the year 1900. His spectrum ranged from architecture to interior decoration and garden planning, from applied art to industrial design. Born in Troppau, he began his architectural studies in Vienna in 1890 and then worked in the office of architect Otto Wagner. Along with Koloman Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner and Gustav Klimt, Olbrich was one of the founding members of the “Viennese Secession” in 1897, whose exhibition building emerged as his first important commission. In 1899, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine appointed Olbrich to become the leading architect of the Darmstadt Artists’Colony. Olbrich developed the overall concept for the first two exhibitions of the Artists’Colony in 1901 and 1904. With his architectural ensemble on the Mathildenhöhe – with the Exhibition Hall, the Wedding Tower and the artists’ houses – Olbrich gave form to the iconic cityscape of Darmstadt.