Hilda Jesser

b. 1894, Marburg an der Drau
d. 1985, Vienna
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Hilda Jesser was a designer and teacher. Initially she attended the Kunstschule für Frauen und Mädchen (Art School for Women and Girls). In 1912, Jesser enrolled at the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) in Vienna as a guest student, and she assumed a full course load beginning in 1914. Initially she studied under Oskar Strnad, but in 1915 she entered Josef Hoffmann's class on architecture. While studying under Hoffmann, Jesser focused on textile and fashion design. She also learned lace and embroidery techniques. Jesser remained at the Kunstgewerbeschule until 1917, taking classes with Anton Hanak, Josef Hoffmann, Alfred Roller, and Rosalia Rothansl.

In 1916 Jesser began contributing work to the Wiener Werkstätte, and she continued to do so until 1922. She was a member of the Wiener Werkstätte from 1916 to 1921. For the Wiener Werkstätte, she was active in many areas, including glass and glass decoration, textiles (lace, tulle embroidery, and printed fabrics), ivory, metalwork, toys, painted wooden objects, wall paintings, leather goods, ceramics, and graphics and postcards. In addition, she was a contributor to Die Mode 1914/15 and Das Leben einer Dame (The Life of a Lady), 1916. Jesser also provided designs to other firms, including glass for J. & L. Lobmeyr; porcelain for Augarten; jewelry for Souval and Oskar Dietrich; and lace for the Werkstätten für Spritzdruck.

Jesser was appointed assistant professor at Vienna's Kunstgewerbeschule in 1922 and made a full professor in 1935. She left Austria in 1938 with the rise of the National Socialists, but in 1945 she was able to return to her position, where she remained until 1966. After her retirement, she focused primarily on painting until her death on July 22, 1985.


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