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Furnishing fabric, (untitled), 1906
Henry van de Velde
Furnishing fabric, (untitled),
Henry van de Velde,

Furnishing fabric, (untitled),

Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Ausstellungsstrasse 60
8031 Zurich
Museum map
Museum für Gestaltung Zürich
Toni-Areal, Pfingstweidstrasse 94
8031 Zurich
  • (untitled) Henry van de Velde
  • (untitled) Henry van de Velde
  • (untitled) Henry van de Velde
Listen to the text

The influential Art Nouveau artist Henry van de Velde (1863–1957) apparently considered this multicolored print fabric a good representative of his work in textiles, as in 1912–13 he presented it in the United States as part of the traveling exhibition German Applied Arts. From 1900, van de Velde devoted his attention to interior decoration, including home textiles that were designed to accompany his furniture, carpets, and decorative objects.

In contrast to woven fabrics such as jacquards, whose appeal comes from complex patterns of alternating flat passages and areas in slight relief, print fabrics like this one derive their interest from the design itself rather than the fabrication technique. Designed in 1906, this printed calico is a dense, smooth pre-woven furnishing fabric. Available in various colorways, the fabric was probably made by Hagener Textilindustrie AG using the roller printing process. The pattern of alternating ornamental circle motifs betrays Indonesian influences and was inspired by the aesthetics of Javanese batik, especially the Ceplok motif. Van de Velde’s reduced ornament, whether printed or woven, proposed a deliberate contrast to the organic plant motifs that dominated contemporary tastes. Hermann Muthesius, founder of the German Werkbund, called the Belgian designer the “father of the nonrepresentational pattern.” Inspired by observing ocean waves, van de Velde embraced the power of line itself, which would become a formal leitmotif of his design approach. His home textiles embody this approach with their symmetrical patterns, rhythmic arrangements, and carefully modulated color schemes. (Franziska Müller-Reissmann)

Dekorationsstoff, 1906
Entwurf: Henry van de Velde
Herstellung: vermutlich Hagener Textilindustrie AG, DE
Material/Technik: Baumwolle, bedruckt
23.5 × 13.5 cm
Eigentum: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Linda Tschöpe, Textilien, in: Thomas Föhl (Hg.), Leidenschaft, Funktion und Schönheit. Henry van de Velde und sein Beitrag zur europäischen Moderne, Ausst.-Kat. Neues Museum Weimar, Weimar 2013, S. 328–349.

Thomas Föhl/ Antje Neumann (Hg.), Henry van de Velde, Raumkunst und Kunsthandwerk. Ein Werkverzeichnis in sechs Bänden, Band II: Textilien, Weimar 2014.

Klaus-Jürgen Sempach/Birgit Schulte (Hg.), Henry van de Velde. Ein europäischer Künstler seiner Zeit, Köln 1992.

Image creditso

Dekorationsstoff, 1906, Entwurf: Henry van de Velde
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Möbel- und Dekorationsstoff, Tula, 1902, Entwurf: Henry van de Velde
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Möbelbezugsstoff, 1911, Entwurf: Henry van de Velde
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Dekorationsstoff, um 1905, Entwurf: Henry van de Velde
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Wandteppich, Die Engelwache, 1892, Entwurf: Henry van de Velde
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Zeichnung, Studie mit mehreren geöffneten Passionsblüten, Knospen und einem Blatt, um 1895, Ausführung: Henry van de Velde
Abbildung: Museum für Gestaltung Zürich / ZHdK

Exhibition texto
Henry van de Velde – Furnishing Fabrics

In his zeal to reform the accoutrements of everyday life, Henry van de Velde (1863–1957) first dedicated himself to dress fabrics and then turned his attention in 1900 to the “artistic revival of the upholstery pattern.” Responding to increased demand for home textiles, he was soon producing yard goods with repeating patterns. Both the jacquard weaves in faux silk and the printed linen and cotton fabrics are characterized by the bold use of color and rhythmic patterns. Using different colorways, van de Velde designed dynamic ornament that strongly abstracts any borrowings from natural flora and fauna.