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Otto Eckmann

Biographies
Otto Eckmann

*  1865 Hamburg
† 1902 Badenweiler


Otto Eckmann, painter, graphic artist, typographer, and crafts designer, was a leading exponent of German Jugendstil. After studying at the Hamburg Kunstgewerbeschule, Otto Eckmann moved to Munich, where he studied painting at the Art Academy. Otto Eckmann continued to work as a painter until 1894 and was not unsuccessful with his landscapes. Nevertheless, he then began to devote himself exclusively to graphic design and crafts, especially embroidery designs. A follower of the progressive trend in art as Jugendstil was on the rise, Otto Eckmann was the first Jugendstil artist to be invited to Darmstadt by Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig of Hesse-Darmstadt. In 1893, seven years before the artists' colony was founded on the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, the Grand Duke commissioned Otto Eckmann to design his study in the Neues Palais on Wilhelminenplatz. From 1895 Otto Eckmann produced illustrations for the journals "Pan" and "Jugend". From 1896 Eckmann taught at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin and was a professor of applied art. Like Peter Behrens, Otto Eckmann worked for AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft), designing trademark logos for their products. Around 1900, Otto Eckmann, again like Peter Behrens, designed a Jugendstil script. Eckmann script revolutionized typography. Influenced by neither antiqua nor Fraktur, the Eckmann script was what was known as a bastard script to be construed at will by typesetters, a principle entirely in accordance with the formal intention underlying Jugendstil. In addition, Otto Eckmann designed postcards as well as ex libris for the Leipzig publisher E.A. Seemann. For the ceramics firm Villeroy & Boch Otto Eckmann designed tiles. In 1902 Otto Eckmann died young at the age of thirty-seven.