Peter Behrens was a self-taught artist. He was one of the pioneers and masters of the Jugendstil in Germany.
The artwork created by Peter Behrens (1868-1940) pertains to all sectors of the applied arts: book design and typography, painting and graphical reproduction, ceramic works such as tiles, jugs and vases, all manner of furniture for various purposes, porcelain tableware, jewellery, objects made of silver and tin such as cutlery and tableware, wall coverings, textiles such as clothing, fabrics, carpets, tablecloths, napkins and tapestries, drinking glasses, pitchers and vases made from glass, advertisement art, posters and so much more.
As a self-taught artist, Peter Behrens was also an industrial designer and mainly an architect. Villas, residences, factory installations and worker housing were erected according to his designs during the first three decades of the 20th century. There is not an inch of the residence and household effects, the living and working environments in the design of which Peter Behrens has not had a hand, or where he has not made a significant contribution. Much like Henry van de Velde, Peter Behrens was versatile in his art.
In the period from 1901 onwards he was also one of the most important representatives of Modern Architecture with an abundance of industrial and administrative buildings, villas and entire residential areas to his name. Behrens also played a major role as a teacher to Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; at times also having counted Le Corbusier among his students.
Thanks to decades of tireless efforts made by a private collector from Münster, Design museum Gent
is able to display creations from all aspects of housing and household effects based on Peter Behrens designs.
This collection comprises the complete works of Behrens virtually in their entirety, exquisite furniture and books as well as other works of art from the artists environment.
The works of Peter Behrens are at the heart of the exhibition and are complemented by selected works from other renowned artists. The Münster collection offers a great many comparative examples, among them rare objects by Christopher Dresser of lesser fame in Belgium. This English designer, predating Peter Behrens by a generation, was one of the artists paving the way for Modern Design around 1900. Artisanally crafted highly valued items from the Wiener Werkstätte by designers such as Josef Hoffman or Kolo Moser, as well as works by Richard Riemerschmid and Henry van de Velde complete this one-off comprehensive overview.
For the first time since 1980 the visitor is able to once again discover the vast works of Peter Behrens, within the framework of the Van de Velde year 2013. A once in a lifetime opportunity.