Otto Prutscher was an architect and designer based in Vienna. He came from a family of craftsmen and began his career as a carpenter's apprentice in his father's firm. Notably, his elder brother Hans also worked as an architect and designer.
Prutscher enrolled at Vienna's Kunstgewerbeschule in 1897, where he studied under Franz Matsch, Josef Hoffmann, and Willibald Schulmeister. In 1901, Prutscher became one of the first graduates of the school after its program was modernized under the leadership of Matsch.
From 1907 until 1925, Prutscher provided designs to the Wiener Werkstätte, primarily in the areas of bookbindings, ceramics, glass, jewelry, metalwork, and textiles. Prutscher was a versatile and prolific designer whose output covered a wide range of media for various firms, including Augarten (porcelain); Backhausen (textiles); E. Bakalowits & Söhne, Lobmeyr, and Loetz (glass); Klinkosch (silver); Portois & Fix, Prag Rudniker and Thonet (furniture), among others.
Prutscher taught at the Institute for Teaching and Practice in Graphics in Vienna from 1903 until 1909. In 1909, Prutscher was appointed to teach at the Kunstgewerbeschule, and in 1919 he was named inspector for the Vienna Trade Schools. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Prutscher was occupied with interior and exhibition design projects for private and public clients throughout much of his career.
Prutscher actively promoted his work through exhibitions in Vienna and he participated in prominent international exhibitions: Paris Exposition Universelle, 1900; Turin Esposizione Internationale d'Arte Decorativa Moderna, 1902; Mannheim Jubilee Exhibition, 1907; Kunstschau Wien, 1908; Cologne Werkbund, 1914; Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, 1925; and Milan Triennale, 1940. In addition, he was a member of the Deutscher Werkbund and a founding member of the Austrian Werkbund.
During the Anschluss, Prutscher was forbidden to work because his wife was Jewish. Attempts to emigrate were unsuccessful and the couple remained in Vienna during the war despite their difficult living circumstances. Prutscher died in Vienna in February of 1949.
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