Olbrich, Josef Maria

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Olbrich, Josef Maria


Born Dec. 22, 1867, in Troppau, present-day Opava, Czechoslovakia; died Aug. 8, 1908, in Dusseldorf. Austrian architect.

Olbrich studied under K. Hasenauer and O. Wagner. A representative of Viennese art nouveau, he was also one of the founders of the Vienna Secession (1897) and the Darmstadt artists’ colony (1899). His buildings are marked by a combination of functional and decorative elements in the overall spatial composition, and by a clear, unified silhouette. Large, well-defined surfaces are enlivened by the rhythmic placement of variously shaped windows, by a small number of horizontal and vertical lines, and by the use of polychromy and, occasionally, geometrical or stylized floral ornament. Examples of the architect’s works are the Secession building (1897–98) in Vienna and artists’ houses (1899–1901), an exhibition hall, and the Wedding Tower (1907–08) in Darmstadt. Simplicity and structural clarity mark Olbrich’s drawings and furniture designs.


Ideen. Vienna, 1899.
Architektur, vols. 1–2. Berlin, 1901–14.


Lux, J. A. Josef M. Olbrich. Berlin, 1919.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.