Art and Design

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The Joseph Urban Stage Design Models and Documents
Joseph Urban (1872-1933) was born in Vienna at a time of great artistic ferment. He was trained as an architect and influenced by the artists of the Vienna Secession (Gustav Klimt, Josef Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann), as well as by the architect Adolf Loos. He immigrated to the United States in 1912 to become the art director of the Boston Opera. In 1914 he moved to New York and for the next two decades his studio was a major theatrical presence, designing productions for New York theaters, the Ziegfeld Follies and the Metropolitan Opera. By the time of his death in 1933, he had designed over 500 stage sets for more than 168 productions, many of which he also directed. The NEH-funded Joseph Urban Stage Designs Stabilization and Access Project of 2002-2004 focused on materials relating to Urban's New York theater career from 1914-1933, specifically the documentation of his productions for the Ziegfeld Follies and other theater producers, and his productions for the Metropolitan Opera.