Kornelija (Nely) Geiger (1896-1976) was a textile designer, teacher and educator. Her work has been almost forgotten, like Otti Berger another leading member of the weaving studio related to the Bauhaus movement who we also featured in our series on Croatian Female Designers. Geiger’s work deals with the creation of textiles for clothing as well as creating templates for lace design. Her work is characterized by geometric stylization, use of ethnic ornaments and strong color contrasts. Geiger studied painting and crafts at the Art Academy in Zagreb from 1915 to 1916 and then spent several years in Vienna where she attended Emmy Zweibruck’s Art School and became a member of the Austrian Werkbund. Geiger later moved to Berlin in 1932 where she improved the Reinau School and adopted a technique for staining fabric by spraying it. Her work incorporated innovative technologies that helped create new materials with rich structures painted in a special way. Following the European art and fashion events, her patterns of lace and fabric for clothing and accessories were designed in the spirit of Art Deco during the 1920s. These compositions came during the wake of organic Modernism with a focus on the special ways of coloring cloth.
At the first International Exposition in Paris in 1925 Geiger received the Grand Prix, and two years later she received the Prix d’Honneur for her exhibition, “Work” at the Society for the Promotion of Artistic Craft. Geiger also won the silver medal in 1939 at the Paris World Exhibition. Geiger participated in numerous specialized competitions in the Czech Republic, Austria and Germany where her work is often positively received. Some of her textile and clothing patterns are included in the holdings of the Zagreb Museum of Arts and Crafts. They show Geiger’s high skills and her awareness of new trends in fashion and art promoted by the Wiener Werkstatte and Bauhaus. Consequently, she is considered one of the pioneers of design in Croatia.
Oaza Collective, Dizajnerice