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Mackintosh, Charles Rennie

Charles Rennie Mackintosh (7 June 1868 – 10 December 1928) was a Scottish architect, designer, water colourist and artist. His artistic approach had much in common with European Symbolism. His work, alongside that of his wife Margaret Macdonald, was influential on European design movements such as Art Nouveau and Secessionism and praised by great modernists such as Josef Hoffmann. Mackintosh was born in Glasgow and died in London. He is among most important figures of Modern Style (British Art Nouveau style).

Mackintosh's designs gained in popularity in the decades following his death. His House for an Art Lover was built in Glasgow's Bellahouston Park in 1996, and the University of Glasgow (which owns most of his watercolour work) rebuilt the interior of a terraced house Mackintosh had designed, and furnished it with his and Margaret's work (it is part of the university's Hunterian Museum).

The Glasgow School of Art building (now "The Mackintosh Building") is cited by architectural critics as among the finest buildings in the UK. On 23 May 2014 the building was ravaged by fire. The library was destroyed, but firefighters managed to save the rest of the building. 

On 15 June 2018, about a year before completion of the restoration of the building the School was again struck by fire. This second fire caused catastrophic damage, effectively destroying all the interiors and leaving the outer walls so structurally unstable that large sections of them had to be taken down to prevent uncontrolled collapse. Such was the global concern that a public commitment to faithfully rebuild The Mackintosh Building was made post-fire by then Director of The Glasgow School of Art, Tom Inns.

The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society encourages greater awareness of the work of Mackintosh as an architect, artist and designer. The rediscovery of Mackintosh as a significant figure in design has been attributed to the designation of Glasgow as European City of Culture in 1990, and exhibition of his work which accompanied the year-long festival. His enduring popularity since has been fuelled by further exhibitions and books and memorabilia which have illustrated aspects of his life and work. The revival of public interest has led to the refurbishment and opening of more buildings to the public, such as the Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow and 78 Derngate in Northampton. From the 1990s onwards the Scottish artist Stewart Bowman Johnson, who studied in the Mackintosh building at Glasgow School of Art, produced a series of interpretations of the architect's work including works depicting the doors and windows of the Willow tearooms.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City held a major retrospective exhibition of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's works from 21 November 1996 to 16 February 1997. In conjunction with the exhibit were lectures and a symposium by scholars, including Pamela Robertson of the Hunterian Art Gallery, Glasgow art gallery owner Roger Billcliffe, and architect J. Stewart Johnson, and screening of documentary films about Mackintosh.

Charles Rennie Mackintosh was commemorated on a series of banknotes issued by the Clydesdale Bank in 2009; his image appeared on an issue of £100 notes.

In 2012, one of the largest collections of art by Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow Four Glasgow School was sold at auction in Edinburgh for £1.3m. The sale included work by Mackintosh's sister-in-law Frances Macdonald and her husband Herbert MacNair.

In July 2015 it was announced that Mackintosh's designs for a tearoom would be reconstructed to form a display in Dundee's new V&A museum. Although the original building which housed the tearoom on Glasgow's Ingram Street was demolished in 1971 the interiors had all been dismantled and put into storage. 

The restored "Oak Room" was revealed when V&A Dundee opened to the public on 15 September 2018.


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