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 collegues:
  Otto Alder, whom I have already mentionned, reviewed both of Werder's pattern series. First of all he criticised the new style which in his opinion, was lacking in elegance and grace and was therefore not suitable for embroidery, embroidery, that first of all, had to decorate ladies' dresses. He even advised Werder not to use the new forms in the school too often.

On the other hand, Alder was satisfied, that there were also patterns for simple whitework embroidery, which constituted the main production of many factories. He was also pleased, that the drawings were made very carefully compared to many foreign ones.

So Werder's superiors at least did not reject his work, but his colleague and flower artist Stauffacher did not like Werders success. Stauffacher turned down art nouveau totally, and he was convinced that art could not be found in machine works. Werder, on the contrary, believed in art in the crafts and in industry. Here he agreed with the theoretical discussions of his time, like those of Walter Crane for instance, who said that art in craft had a great influence on the people's awareness of beauty and would therefore become very important in an industrial age.

Similar ideas were developped in other institutes as for instance in Krefeld, where the director Friedrich Deneken tried to promote trade with the assistance of artists like Henry van de Velde.

Surely, the situation in the St.Gall school of design was different, but Werder realized that industry needed its specific aestetic formulations, which took into consideration the conditions of machine work and mass production.


Johannes Stauffacher

Werder had been a representative of floral art nouveau, he got down to the trends of his time and also to the requirements of machine embroidery. This enduced him to create his own formulations. Here he combined naturalism, the new ornament and the small pattern repeats.

Unfortunately Werder could neither see the success of his instructions nor of his pattern books. He died from kidney trouble on November 27th 1902. He was hard to replace at he school. His successor Conrad Strasser, also published a pattern book, but there the new surface decoration is not developed or cannot be found at all.



pattern for embroidery, St Gallen style, early 20th c.

design of handkerchief, made by Stauffacher
end 19th c., Inv.No. TM 45844
(Textile Library St Gallen)







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content Last revised 5 August, 2004