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Edward Gordon Craig

London 1872 - Vence 1966


Edward Gordon Craig was born in Stevenage/Hertford in 1872 as son of the actress Ellen Terry and the architect, stage designer and theatre director Edward William Godwin. Between 1889 and 1897 he worked as an actor at Henry Irving's "Lyceum Theatre" in London and began to design his own figurines and stage designs.
He was increasingly interested in graphics and was taught woodcut techniques by James Pryde, William Nicholson and William Rothenstein since 1893. Edward Gordon Craig executed in the following time uncounted exlibris, portraits of actors, theatre brochures and book illustrations. In his journal "The page" he published several graphics using various pseudonyms.
In 1899 Craig turned back to the theatre and founded the "Purcell Operatic Society" together with the composer Martin Fallas Shaw. Here his most important theatre works were executed. With the help of Harry Graf Kessler in Weimar he got acquainted with important contemporary artists and achieved an international breakthrough with his programmatic essay "The Art of the Theatre".
Edward Gordon Craig became the reformer of the stage design which had been dominated by the aesthetic of depiction and illusionism. During his lifetime he was barely able to realise his radically new theatre concept and his abstract stage aesthetic, basing on light and shadow, but his journalistic influence still lasted in the 20th century. His artistic power was developed in numerous sketches, independent from a practical realisabilty. Craig's drawings and woodcuts are formed by the style of the turn of the century and refer in their decorative line drawing, the sectioning of areas in clear forms and the high-contrast setting of light and shadow to Art Nouveau.
In 1926 the artist was honoured with the "Order of Knights of Danneborg" for the performance of Ibsen's "Kronprätendenten".
Edward Gordon Craig lived in Vence/Alpes Maritimes since 1948, where he attended to scientific studies, drawing, writing, collecting and designing of book covers.


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