Der Kuss (The Kiss) by Peter Behrens breaks with traditional imagery and is one of the best-known German prints of its era. It is also Behrens’ only Jugendstil/Art Nouveau print.
Behrens started as a painter, then quickly moved onto prints, book illustrations, decorative arts, furniture, industrial arts, interior design, and architecture. Peter Behrens’ creative life was a Gesamtkunstwerk - a total work of art.
In 1910, Behren received one of the first copies of the Frank Lloyd Wright Wasmuth Portfolio, which was published in Berlin, to his architectural office. His senior apprentice was Walter Gropius, his junior apprentice was Le Corbusier, and just starting his apprenticeship was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. With Behrens, these three architects changed how the 20th century thought about the built and consumed environment.
This work is currently on view in PAN: Prints of Avant-Garde Europe, 1895-1900 at The Richard H. Driehaus Museum.
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Peter Behren (German 1868-1940), Ohne Titel (Der Kuss)/Untitled (The Kiss). Published in PAN IV, Volume 2, 1898. Color woodcut.