Peter Behrens

The architect, designer and graphic artist Peter Behrens was born in 1868 in Hamburg and initially studied painting in Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf and Munich. Here he became acquainted with a circle of young artists grouped around the magazine »Jugend« and propagating a new style. Inspired by this movement Behrens begins with works in the field of commercial and applied art. In 1899 Peter Behrens is appointed by Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig to the Darmstädter Künstlerkolonie (artists’ colony). In contrast to Josef Maria Olbrich, who is already 32 years old, Behrens is just at the beginning of his career as architect and industrial designer. In the construction and furnishing of his house on the Mathildenhöhe he implements his own designs in »a big way«. His complete dedication to architecture, however, and above all the industrial architecture linked with his name, first transpires as Peter Behrens, meanwhile Director of the Düsseldorf Arts & Crafts College, is appointed artistic advisor to AEG, Berlin. The design of AEG products, new buildings and advertising were his responsibility. He planned several factories for AEG, which today are acknowledged as pacesetting for European architecture. His work as industrial designer is no less legendary and his studio then attracted the leading designers of the time, including Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. Peter Behrens died in 1940 in Berlin.