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Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Biographies
Charles Rennie Mackintosh

*  1868 Glasgow
† 1928 London


An architect, designer, painter, and graphic artist, the versatile Charles Rennie Mackintosh was a leading exponent of the British Arts and Crafts movement in the late 19th century. Born in Glasgow in 1968 in Glasgow, Charles Rennie Mackintosh served an apprenticeship under the tutelage of the architect John Hutchinson while also studying drawing and painting in evening courses at the Glasgow School of Art. From 1899 until 1913 he was employed in the architectural practice of Honeyman & Keppie. With Margaret Macdonald, who would become his wife, her sister Frances, and Herbert MacNair, Charles Rennie Mackintosh founded the "Glasgow Four", in Glasgow in 1894, a group of artists that would later be disparagingly dubbed the "Spook School". At the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society in London, the "Glasgow Four" showed crafts objects and furniture of their own design in 1896. Several public buildings and private houses were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in and around Glasgow. In 1897 work began on the Charles Rennie Mackintosh extension to the Glasgow School of Art, which was not finished until 1909. Some Charles Rennie Mackintosh projects were conceived as total works of art, for which Charles Rennie Mackintosh not only designed the buildings but was also responsible for the interiors down to the most minute detail. Hill House dates from 1902/03. Some of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's most important and justly celebrated interiors were his Glasgow tearooms. Together with George Walton, he designed the Buchanan Street (1896) and Argyle Street (1897) tearooms. The Ingram Street and Willow Street tearooms, however, are entirely the work of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. In 1900 Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the "Glasgow Four" were invited to participate in the VIIIth exhibition mounted by the Viennese Secession. Charles Rennie Macintosh's designs especially exerted an enormous influence on German and Austrian Jugendstil artists. For Josef Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, and Koloman Moser, contact with Charles Rennie Mackintosh would be of enormous and lasting importance. In 1901 the Darmstadt publisher Alexander Koch mounted an exhibition "Haus eines Kunstfreundes" ("House for an Art Lover"), where Charles Rennie Mackintosh was awarded a special prize. In 1902 he was commissioned by Fritz Wärndorfer, who, a year later, would become the paramount financial backer of the Wiener Werkstätte, to design a music room. In 1914 Charles Rennie Mackintosh went to London, where the designs he did included patterned textiles. Compared with his early, organic designs, Charles Rennie Mackintosh's later work is notably austere and stringently geometric in style. In his work, Charles Rennie Mackintosh tended to unite opposites, such as light and dark, black and white, masculine and feminine, and even modern-traditional. In 1923 Mackintosh and his wife Margaret moved to Port Vendres in Brittany, where he devoted himself thenceforward to painting in watercolor.