Gliese, Rochus

(1891-1976)
   Designer. Gliese was among the most accomplished of stage designers in the Expressionist style during the Weimar Republic period, creating several distinctive designs for Jürgen Fehling at the Berlin State Theater in the 1920s. He also designed more than a dozen silent films, working as assistant director on Das Kabinett des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920). His most distinctive stage designs were for Fehling's Ernst Barlach productions in the mid-1920s, employing unprecedented abstraction. He followed F. W. Murnau to Hollywood in the late 1920s, designing The Main Event and Sunrise for him; the latter earned Gliese an Academy Award nomination. His stage design work blossomed under the Third Reich, as he created several astonishing settings for Gustaf Gründgens at the Berlin State Theater. For King Lear, he mixed neo-Baroque extravagance with minimalist abstraction; for Egmont, he created a neo-Romantic replication of central Brussels, including live horses on the stage. His Der Raub der Sabinerinnen (The Rape of the Sabine Women) employed a Biedermeier coziness. He continued film design work in the 1930s, though with less frequency. Most distinctive among his film art direction in the 1930s was Tanz auf dem Vulkan (Dance on the Volcano) with Gründgens. Gliese continued working as a guest designer for several theaters during the 1950s and 1960s, most notably for the Burgtheater in Vienna and the Munich Opera.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

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