MACKINTOSH, Charles Rennie
(b. 1868, Glasgow, d. 1928, London)

Biography

Scottish architect, designer, and painter. At the peak of the Arts and Crafts Movement in Scotland, Charles Rennie Mackintosh was the founder of the Glasgow School, an outstanding architecture and decoration style, forerunner of Modern Movement in Scotland.

In 1884, he trained as an architect in a local firm and studied art and design at evening classes at the Glasgow School of Art. In 1890, he established his own practice, in 1894, he founded the group called The Four, with fellow artists at the art school: Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Herbert MacNair, and the sisters Margaret Macdonald and Frances Macdonald. Influenced by Continental Art Nouveau, Japanese art, Symbolism and new-Gothic styles, they successfully exhibited metalwork, furniture and illustrations in Glasgow, London, Vienna and Turin. Mackintosh created most of his works and innovative designs within a short period of intense activity between 1890 and 1911.

He collaborated to the 1900 Vienna Secession and with Austrian architect-designer Josef Hoffmann, greatly influencing his work. In 1902, he presented his Mackintosh room furniture at the Turin International Exhibition; he later designed houses and various Tea-Rooms interior decorations.

Mackintosh's chief architectural projects were the Glasgow School of Art (1896-1909), considered the first original example of Art Nouveau architecture in Great Britain; two unrealized projects - the 1901 International exhibition, Glasgow (1898), and "Haus eines Kunstfreundes" (1901); Windyhill, Kilmacolm (1899-1901), and Hill House, Helensburgh (1902); the Willow Tea Rooms, Glasgow (1904); and Scotland Street School, Glasgow (1904-06). Although all have some traditional characteristics, they reveal a mind of exceptional inventiveness and aesthetic perception. By 1914 he had virtually ceased to practice and after that devoted himself to watercolour painting.

Although Mackintosh was nearly forgotten for several decades, the late 20th century saw a revival of interest in his work. The stark simplicity of some of his furniture designs, in particular, appealed to contemporary taste, and reproductions of Mackintosh chairs and settees began to be manufactured. The Mackintosh House in Glasgow was reconstructed and opened to the public as a museum in the late 1970s.

Mackintosh's designs, stylized flowers and decorative elements have inspired many modern graphic works, furniture re-editions, as well as jewellery and silverware designs.