Created in 1902, Julius Klinger’s book of design and ornament, La Femme dans la Décoration Moderne, is a graphic celebration of the feminine. The 30 pages of motifs contained within—which all feature women—were intended to be sources of inspiration for practitioners of the industrial arts: decorative painters and ceramicists as well as designers of jewelry, posters, rugs, textiles, stained glass and wallpaper. Klinger was one of the luminary Austrian graphic designers of his era, leaving behind a vast body of work, particularly in the realm of commercial poster design and typography.
Born in 1876 in Dornbach, just outside of Vienna, Klinger studied at the Technologischen Gewerbemuseum. By the age of nineteen, Klinger had found employment as an illustrator for the fashion publication Wiener Mode. There he met—and fell under the tutelage—of fellow employee and future founder of the Wiener Werkstätte, Koloman Moser. In 1896, upon Moser’s recommendation, Klinger moved to Munich where he worked for the publication Meggendorfer Blätter, illustrating in the Vienna Secessionist style and also for the Jugenstil publication Die Jugend, even after he moved to Berlin in 1897.
Klinger’s talents were put to work in Berlin in the advertising world and it was there that he refined his skills as a commercial poster designer, eventually garnering an international reputation for his work in this genre. After WWI, the designer returned to Vienna where he opened a school for the applied arts, educating the subsequent generation of graphic designers, perhaps for the next few decades; biographical information on Klinger is scant. However, Austrian police records notate Klinger’s deportation by the Nazis to Minsk in February of 1942. Some sources state it was there he likely perished the same year, while conflicting sources cite his year of death as 1950.
If any of our Material Mode readers have more information of this prodigiously talented artist, typographer and writer, we would love to hear from you!