Jacques and Jacqueline Groag, Architect and Designer: Two Hidden Figures of the Viennese Modern Movement

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Product Details

$39.95  $36.75
Doppelhouse Press
Publish Date
6.1 X 9.0 X 0.8 inches | 1.6 pounds

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About the Author

Jonee Tiedemann is a certified translator and interpreter from Germany who lives in Argentina, has studied in the United States, and works between the three languages: German, Spanish and English. He specializes in architecture and design books, as well as self-published German indie literature.


The Festival of Britain, the third and much the largest of the post-war design bonanzas is now regarded mainly as the start of the mass-public acceptance of the 'modern' design and architecture. ... It opened up the possibilities inherent in designing and influenced the whole development of the modern multi-disciplinary design office. The Festival was British, extravagantly so, ... but it is ironic that many of the main designers of the Festival in the post-war periods had in fact arrived from abroad: Stefan Buzas, Jacques and Jacqueline Groag. ...Where would British design have been without this foreign input?
- Fiona McCarthy/Patrick Nugents, Eye for Industry, Royal Designers 1936-1986
Among the buildings of the Werkbundsiedlung of 1932, the elegant house by architect Jacques Groag stood out in a positive way. Clever spatial economy succeeded in arranging the rooms so that they do not appear to be small and confined as is the case in one or the other home of the settlement, but spacious and airy. The sensation of the control of space and the strong impression of the room clearly marked the architect as a protege of Adolf Loos. Jacques Groag belongs to the younger Viennese architects whose style stands out because of its ingenious elegance and lightness.
- Österreichische Kunst (Austrian Art)
Jacques Groag´s living spaces exhibit an attitude that abstains from exaggerated "sober" motifs. Next to the purist cheerfulness that is at play, imagination rules, as well as delicate proportions, which are a mental rather than utilitarian matter. This architect has created living spaces that veritably dissolve in light. There is an impulse to open up walls and to take away their material bodies. The fact that Groag came from painting to architecture is apparent via the pictorial effects; it is obvious that he masters the technicalities. ... Almost all of the rooms share a tendency towards delicate fabric covers that dissolve the boundaries of the rooms, a preference for natural-colored floor mats, and for light colors as such.
- Innendekoration
The fact is, that [Jacques Groag] was, until the Nazis invaded Austria, one of the leading and most successful avant-garde architects in Vienna, where he was for many years engaged on work for important housing projects, public buildings and private houses. ... In Britain in the absence of any architectural work, he was glad to supply himself to utility furniture. When, after the war, building activities were resumed, no one in Britain seemed to be aware any longer of his caliber as an architect, and Groag himself was much too modest a man to claim what, by rights, ought to have been his due.
- Sir Gordon Russell, SIA Journal
Jacqueline Groag's long life of creativity received its strong foundations from the remarkable period of Viennese Arts and Crafts that - after three generations - we now recognize as the source of much of what European culture has given to the world. As one of the very few pupils of that great teacher, Josef Hoffmann, Jacqueline survived into our time of turbulence and uncertainty to make us understand that our lives are of real value only when we live with beauty.
- Stefan Buzas, Eulogy for Jacqueline Groag, January 21, 1986
The houses of Groag with the beautiful terraces impress because of their clever balance. They radiate comfort.
- Neue Freie Presse
The art historian Ursula Prokop empathically describes the life of the Groags [...] and characterizes their artistic achievements. The difficulty of finding sources - Groag's buildings have been extensively changed, many of his furniture have been lost or are widely scattered - made the research for the present double biography at first slow and tedious. Nevertheless, the author has managed to convey a multifaceted and vivid picture of [the Groags'] contemporary history, as well as highlighting the influence that the continental avant-garde had on British design of the post-war years and the acceptance of a modern language of form. Thus, the work that emerged in the context of a research project carried out at the University of Vienna is not only a late tribute to the two designers in their old homeland, but also a contribution to the subject of the individual design history that goes beyond individuality.
- Dagmar Steffen, Bauwelt
Her work [...] in the clarity of its line and colour as much as subject-matter, eluded received notions and never lost an element of child-like wonder, of day dreaming.
- Isabelle Anscombe, author of A Woman's Touch
Ursula Prokop offers an extensively researched book on the Viennese architect and designer couple Jacques and Jacqueline Groag that provides new infor-mation and new insight into the lives of two talented artists whose modernist work crossed over political. geographical, and cultural frontiers. [...] The book is a well-documented overview of the couple's lives and works. It introduces biographical material collected and preserved from many different collections, especially those of the two nephews, Mr. Jan Groag in New York and Dr. Willi Groag in Maanit, Israel. [...] This is a pioneering work that rightfully places the artists Jacques and Jacqueline Groag within the field of Viennese Modernism.
- Elana Shapira, Centropa
[Jacqueline Groag lives] in a world of imagination. [...] Starlight, with its interweaving of delicate chains, suggests to me marvellous and mysterious talks under the stars. I cannot remember designs for fabrics affecting me in this way before.
- Charles Reilly, Art and Industry
Few designers can move easily from abstract design to the representational and produce equally good work in both disciplines. Jacqueline Groag not only possesses this special gift but also the ability to abstract from life so that reality still exists in many of her patterns, but transformed by the wit and charm of her own personality.
- The Ambassador
[Jacqueline Groag] constantly and ingeniously exploited the decorative possibilities of simple motifs, frequently in highly complex designs.
- House and Garden
Moving forward in time throughout the book, I couldn't help wonder if the couple would have been remembered -- not "largely forgotten" [as the author states] -- if they would have emigrated to the United States, where fellow Austrians R.M. Schindler and Richard Neutra went. I imagine the Austrian-Jewish-émigré version of Charles and Ray Eames, though that analogy goes only so far [ ... ] (their collaboration in 1951 on the Festival of Britain was a high point). With skills in architecture, interior design, textiles, paintings, and other aspects of art and design, the Groags were capable of creating complete environments.
This July Ursula Prokop's well-researched biography of Groag and his wife Jacqueline was published by DoppelHouse Press, bringing to our attention these two important designers who practiced in Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Britain after World War II. [...] The legacy of Jacques Groag lies in helping make Adolf Loos' and Ludwig Wittgenstein's architectural designs possible, producing his own modernist building designs, furnitures and interiors, and contributing an excellent [duplex] at the Werkbundsiedlung in Vienna. Jacqueline Groag is considered one of the most important British postwar designers. Both Jacques and Jacqueline were essential pieces in the multi-faceted Czech and Slovak tapestry of endeavor to enrich the world of art, design and architecture. -- British Czech and Slovak Review