Van de Velde, Henry (1863–1957) By Cesare, Carla
Architect and designer Henry van de Velde was born in Antwerp, Belgium, the sixth child in a middle-class family. The influence of Symbolism on his initial training as a painter, in particular the movement’s emphasis on the relationship between meaning and form, led to his eventual definition of the importance of the line as a motivating impetus in his work. This emphasis on line, combined with a growing interest in design reform, led to his career as a pre-eminent modernist, most prominently through his role as a founder of the Art Nouveau movement, and later work with the Deutscher Werkbund. Van de Velde began his professional life as a painter. He studied from 1880 until 1883 at the Academie voor Schone Kunsten in Antwerp. Through Georges Seurat, van de Velde developed his interest in the line. By 1892, nearly ten years after he had finished art school, van de Velde discovered the Arts and Crafts movement led by William Morris in England, which led the artist toward his training as an architect and designer.