The Darmstadt Artists’ Colony (Darmstädter Künstlerkolonie Mathildenhöhe) refers both to a group of Jugendstil artists as well as to the buildings in Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, Germany in which these artists lived and worked. The artists were largely financed by patrons and worked together with other members of the group who ideally had concordant artistic tastes. UNESCO recognized the Darmstadt artists’ colony as a World Heritage Site in 2021.
Darmstadt Artists’ Colony refers both to a group of Jugendstil artists and to the complex in which artists lived
The buildings and artworks of the 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.
The buildings and artworks of the Darmstadt Artists’ Colony form a unique Gesamtkunstwerk (total artwork) that was created between 1900 and 1914
The artists in Mathildenhöhe developed new construction methods that are still visible today in the so-called International Style. Clear lines, reduced ornamentation, clinker bricks, all-round window fronts, flat roofs, as they became the predominant style elements in the Bauhaus, were seen for the first time in Darmstadt. For example in the Wedding Tower designed by the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, which already had corner windows designed in 1908. The heart of the site was primarily the Ernst Ludwig House, the central studio house designed by Olbrich. There was thought, debated, drafted and then rejected again. Today works by the former 23 members of the artists’ colony are shown in a permanent exhibition.