Biography Frederick Kiesler

1890

Frederick J. Kiesler is born on September 22 in Czernowitz (then a part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, but now in Ukraine).

1908-09

Kiesler studies in Vienna at the Technical University and at the Academy of Fine Arts.

kiesler-portrait-vienna-1920

1920

On August 19 Kiesler marries the philology student Stephanie Frischer in the Vienna Synagogue.

Friedrich Kiesler in Berlin, 1920er Jahre

1923

Kiesler worked on his first set design for Karel Čapek’s play W.U.R.

1924

He organises and designes the “Internationale Ausstellung neuer Theatertechnik” for the Music and Theatre Festival of Vienna. For this exhibition he develops not only the revolutionary concept of the Space Stage but also his radical L+T installation system.

1925

Josef Hoffmann invites Kiesler to design and organise a theatre display for the Austrian theatre section at the “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes” in Paris. Kiesler builds the City in Space as an architectural vision of a futuristic floating city.

Friedrich Kiesler bei seiner Ankunft in New York, 1926, Foto: Underwood & Underwood

1926

Frederick and Stefi Kiesler set sail for New York with more than forty crates of exhibits for the “International Theatre Exposition” at the Steinway Building. The Kieslers then settle in New York.

1929

Kiesler designs and builds the Film Guild Cinema in New York.

1930

He obtains the architects licence from the New York State and establishes the Planners Institute Inc.

1931

Kiesler wins the competition for the Woodstock Theater, however the project is never built.

1932-33

Kiesler participates in the exhibition “Modern Architecture: International Exhibition” curated by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russel Hitchcock. He becomes member of the AUDAC and regularly meets with the group. His contact with the Surrealism become more intense and starts a long-time friendship with Arshile Gorky.

Kiesler builds a full-scale model of the Space House a one story single-family dwelling. To complete this project, Kiesler uses biomorphic forms for the first time. Subsequently, he works on numerous drafts for furniture design and was commissioned to furnish the apartment of Marguerita and Charles Mergentime.

1937

He establishes the Laboratory for Design Correlation at the School of Architecture at Columbia University and starts working on the Vision Machine as well as on the Mobile Home Library. Subsequently Kiesler focuses on his holistic theory of Correalism.

Abschiedsessen für André Breton, New York 1945

1942

Invited by the arts collector Peggy Guggenheim, Kiesler develops radical new exhibition methods for the objects at her new Art of This Century Gallery.

Friedrich Kiesler mit Hans Arp, Paris 1947

1947

Kiesler designs the Surrealist Bloodflames 1947 exhibition at the Hugo Gallery and the installation for the “Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme” at the Gallery Maeght in Paris. He writes the “Manifeste du Corréalisme” which is published in June in “L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui”. From that time on, Kiesler works on painting and sculpture.

1950

The first model of the Endless House is included in the exhibition “The Muralist and the Modern Architects” at the Kootz Gallery in New York.

1954

The Sidney Janis Gallery shows painted Galaxies in its first one-artist exhibition.

1957

In collaboration with his partner Armand Bartos, Kiesler begins conceptual work on The Shrine of The Book in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The World House Gallery, a project by Kiesler & Bartok, opens in New York.

1960

The Museum of Modern Art shows a large model of the Endless House from 1958/59 in the exhibition Visionary Architecture.

1961

One-man show of Shell Sculptures and Galaxies at the Leo Castelli Gallery.

1962

Kiesler develops numerous sketches for a Grotto for Meditation for Jane Owen in New Harmony, Indiana.

Friedrich Kiesler auf Long Island, 1960er Jahre

1963

He begins the large environmental sculpture Us-You-Me and assembles journal notes and other writings for Inside the Endless House, a book of his recollections published posthumously by Simon & Schuster in 1966. Stefi dies on September 3.

1964

On March 26, Kiesler marries Lillian Olinsey. Works on his sculpture Bucephalus.

1965

In April, Kiesler flew to Jerusalem for the opening ceremonies of The Shrine of The Book. On December 27, Frederick Kiesler dies in New York.