"My Hesse country shall flourish and in it, the arts!" The founding and development of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony 1899-1914
The buildings and artworks of the Künstlerkolonie Darmstadt (Darmstadt Artists’ Colony) on the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt form a unique Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork) that was created between 1900 and 1914. With the founding of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony, Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine, grandson of Queen Victoria, pursued several goals: on the one hand, he wanted to establish a center for the new modern style in architecture and applied arts in Darmstadt, the capital of his grand duchy; on the other hand, Ernst Ludwig sought out to boost manufactories in Hesse by providing them with modern designs created by the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony.
He had become familiar with the Arts and Crafts Style during his time in England and saw herein a point of departure for the development of modern designs of high quality using materials appropriate to the design intent. The Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt proved to be the perfect space for this undertaking and was subsequently shaped in its current form over the course of four major exhibitions between 1901 and 1914 by the 23 members of the Artists’ Colony.