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Room: Von Wersins Kitchen

Wolfgang von Wersin

The palatial kitchen may be named after Wolfgang von Wersin, yet those wondering who he was, came to the right place. Because here the Initiator is about to provide an introduction to the life and work of the figure who laid the fundament for Von Wersin's Kitchen.

Wolfgang von Wersin (1882 – 1976) was a Czech-born designer, painter, architect and author who developed his career in Germany. He studied architecture at the Technische University of Munich (1901–1904) and, in parallel he also studied drawing and painting at the Teaching and Experimental Atelier for Applied Arts, a reform oriented art school in the same city. Then, from 1906 onwards, after completing his military service, he became a tutor there. In 1909 Von Wersin began working as a designer for numerous firms, including the Behr furniture factory and the Meissen porcelain manufacturers. In 1929, he assumed the directorship of the Neue Sammlung established in Munich in 1925, the department for artisan art at the National Museum – and remained there until his illegal dismissal by the national socialists in 1934.

Wolfgang von Wersin. Das elementare Ornament und seine Gesetzlichkeit, 1940

In the period from 1936 to 1938 he designed dining service sets for Rosenthal and for the porcelain manufactory Thomas in Marktredwitz. His 'Das elementare Ornament und seine Gesetzlichkeit (Eine Morphologie des Ornaments)' was published in 1940. In this book he introduces what he considers the base elements of ornamentation: forms that recur throughout history and are repeatedly developed by each new civilisation into entirely unique creations and styles. He organises 24 categories into a scheme, which for the first time gives a relatively logical and enlightening structure to ornament – although it is questionable whether one should want to capture the infinite variations of creativity in schemes and orderings.

The scheme in 'Das elementare Ornament und seine Gesetzlichkeit'

In 1946 Von Wersin participated in the founding of the Upper Austrian Werkbund, whose president he was until his death. He taught at the Art School of the City of Linz, and published his book on the rectangle (The Book of Rectangles, Spatial Law and Gestures of The Orthogons Described) in 1956, in which he dealt with the application of the various rectangular shapes in architecture and design.