Paul Scheerbart

An art critic, novelist, playwright, theorist and editor, Paul Scheerbart is a unique and somewhat subversive figure of the literature world. A prolific author who was long discredited by critics, he has published many novels that are difficult to classify, but that always combine social criticism, unbridled imagination and absurd humour. In this respect, some have seen in him a precursor of surrealism. But above all he is remembered for his treatises. He is the author of L’Architecture de Verre, a famous essay on architecture that influenced Bruno Taut and, later, Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, as well as theorists such as Walter Benjamin or Reyner Banham, who considered him to be a precursor of modernism. In this essay, he develops a view of architecture that is opposed to any form of architectural functionalism, instead supporting ornamental architecture made entirely from coloured glass.

Paul Scheerbart was born in 1863 in Germany and died abruptly in 1915. He was closely connected to the avant-garde of his age, namely Herwarth Walden’s expressionist group and his publishing house, Der Sturm, which he actively participated in. He was close to Bruno Taut and the painter Kokoschka.


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