ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History / publications

Ludwig Otto Werder (1868-1902), and the early development of the school of design in St.Gall
a paper, given at the CIETA meeting of 1993 in Lyon, France, by Anne Wanner-JeanRichard

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  Werder and German and French Designers:
  Werder's journey to Leibzig and Brussels in the summer of 1897, where he studied the new style is well documented. As a result, his first series of pattern books was published in January 1898 and a second series came out in 1901, published by Christian Stoll in Plauen.

At the end of 1897 Hansen published his mountain-postcards in an edition of 100'000. He sold them in 10 days, and so the artists financial problems were solved. From Munich he wrote to the director in St.Gall that he would not be returning to the school for January 1898. Now Werder took over the teaching of some of Hansen's subjects, that is, the classes in ornamental design.We will never know whether this points to a good understanding or to a situation of rivalry between the 2 men.

Werder himself had very definite ideas on the purpose of his students' education. He wanted to teach them to compose in a deliberate way. An important part was all the illustrative material, i.e., the finished machine embroideries of his own town and productions from other countries.

I am now going to compare Werder's pattern with other patterns from around 1900, which could be found then and can still be found today in the library of the textile museum in St.Gall. The comparison shows that Werder was well informed about ornaments abroad and to a certain extent was also inspired by foreign tendencies.

  The patterns of .H.Frilling, Berlin, show the influence of Japanese painting. In his first series, Werder shows a very heavy line in some of his forms, and a similar line can be found in an early work of Gabriel Prévot from France or Brussels. Further ornaments by Werder and by Gabriel Prévot (1876-1927) were published by Christian Stoll in Plauen, and it is interesting to note that these patterns, edited a few years later, are far more naturalistic.

It is also possible to compare Werder's pattern with a folder edited by R.Hofmann, in Plauen as well. Hofmann was the director of the royal industrial school of Plauen. To St.Gall this German institution was really exemplary. Here, elements of floral art nouveau can be found, as well as more geometrical forms. Werder's very simple borders can be compared to simple forms in the folder of J.Hrdlicka of Vienna. Hrdlicka was a professor of design in the k.k. Central-Lace-course, and he might have met Werder in St.Gall in 1898. I can find no parallels in other pattern-books for the last group of Werder's ornaments, perhaps one could see an influence of Henry van de Velde. They cover a whole surface, and they seem to show Werder's personal interpretation of decoration.




collection of designs, by H. Frilling, Berlin (No 1,55)

collection of designs, by G. Prévot (No1,64)




collection of designs, by R. Hofmann (V 17, 19)



Gabriel Prévot, de Saint-Quentin, France (1876-1927)



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content Last revised 5 August, 2004