Emil Pirchan’s work for the theatre extended for a time period of almost four decades. In 1918 in Munich, he staged his first production with Hannibal; his final production was in 1955 in Innsbruck.

Pirchan thus experienced nearly forty years of far-reaching upheavals in politics, society, art and culture. Today the universal artist Pirchan is viewed primarily as a set designer—here especially in his not-to-be-underestimated significance for the stage of Expressionist theatre during the 1920s. Together with the director and theatre manager Leopold Jessner, Emil Pirchan made theatrical history. The productions of Wilhelm Tell (1919), The Marquess of Keith (1920), Richard III (1920) and Othello (1921) are considered right down to today to be milestones in stage aesthetics.

Emil Pirchan also made use of photography as a technical aid and for the documentation of his works. (Christiane Mühlegger-Henapel, Alexandra Steiner-Strauss)

Design for ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare, Berlin, 1921 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Design for ’Aus dem Leben der Insekten‘ (Pictures from the Insects’ Life) by Josef and Karel Čapek, Berlin, 1923 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Bühnenbildentwurf für »Götterdämmerung«, Walhall, Berlin, 1929 (Theatermuseum, Wien) Set design for ’Götterdämmerung‘, Valhalla, Berlin, 1929 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Set design for the ballet ’The Planets‘, Berlin, 1931 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Bühnenbildentwurf für »Spiel um die Welt« von Walter Seidl, Brünn, Landestheater, 1935 (Theatermuseum, Wien)
Set design for ’Spiel um die Welt‘ (Playing for the World) by Walter Seidl, Brno, Landestheater, 1935 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Set design for ’Der Marquis von Keith‘, 5th act, Berlin, 1920 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Collage, Set from the final scene in ’Othello‘, Berlin State Theatre, 1921 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Set design for ‘Die Zwingburg‘, Berlin, 1924 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Scene photo from ’Fremde Erde‘ (Foreign Soil), Berlin, 1929 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Scene photo from the ballet ’The Planets‘ by Gustav Holst, Berlin State Opera, 1931 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Set design for ‘Hannibal’ by Christian Dietrich Grabbe, Vienna, Burgtheater, 1937 (Steffan/Pabst Collection)

Set design for ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare, Berlin, 1921 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Set design for ’Der Schatzgräber‘ (The Treasure Hunter) by Franz Schreker, Berlin State Theatre, 1922

Scene photo from the opera ’Die Zwingburg‘ (The Fortress), Berlin, 1924 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Set design for ’Der König‘ (The King) by Umberto Giordano, Berlin State Theatre, 1929 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Design for ’Cavalleria Rusticana‘ by Pietro Mascagni, Prague, Deutsches Theater, 27.10.1932 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Design for ‘Die Fliegen’ (The Flies) by Jean-Paul Sartre, undated (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Design for ‘Othello’ by William Shakespeare, Berlin, State Theatre, 1921 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

The protagonists behind the production of ’Josephs Legende‘ (The Legend of Joseph), Prague, 1922; Emil Pirchan 1. f. l. (Steffan/Pabst Collection)

Kostüme für die »Revue der Technik«, Berlin, 1927 (Theatermuseum, Wien)
Costume design for ’Revue der Technik‘ (Technology Revue), Berlin, 1927 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Design for ‘Dalibor’, Prague, Deutsches Theater, 25.05.1930 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)

Set design for ‘Die Regimentstochter’ (Daughter of the Regiment), Prague, 1933 (Theatermuseum, Vienna)