'if we trace the artistic form of things
made by man to their origin,
we find a direct inspiration from
if not a direct imitation of nature.'
C.R. Mackintosh (1868-1928)
The pencil of Charles Rennie Mackintosh created a mathematical
simplicity in design. The sense of natural order not only presented itself
in his architectural works, but in those of furniture, drawings, and
watercolors as well. The fluid and geometric intricacies of the Art
Nouveau movement, became an abstraction to Mackintosh... an interpretation
of the natural forms which foreshadows the austere rules of modernism.
There is detail and complexity to Mackintosh's work. He drew upon the
forms of nature and molded them into carefully articulated designs. It is
his precision of line and pattern... texture... that becomes the artist's
Perhaps most recognized for his furniture such as the Ladderback Chair
created for the 1902 Hill House or the Order Chair for the 1904 Willow Tea
Rooms, Mackintosh was also a master draughtsman. Beautifully complex,
ordered patterns reinforced designs to the smallest detail. Watercolors
and drawings executed by Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald became
elegant compositions in stained glass, textiles, and ornamentation. Nature
is distilled by the hand of the artist.
Throughout the work of Mackintosh, a sense of the organic is obviously
inherent, yet the abstraction creates designs which are pure in their
simplicity. One can see the expression of flowers and plants in his work,
yet understand implicitly the geometric mathematics of the form. It is
ironic in some respects that nature and pure calculated form can be so
closely allied, yet distinctly separate in their origins. Much like the
work of Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries, Mackintosh sought the
nature of design... abstraction of the familiar into new and exciting
'art is the flower life is the green leaf.
let every artist strive to make his flower,
a beautiful living thing something that will convince the world,
that there may be... there are... things more precious more beautiful...
more lasting than life.'
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