August Endell studied a mixture of psychology, aesthetics, and natural science under the tutelage of Lipps in Munich and in 1896 submitted a dissertation entitled Gefühlskonstruktion ("The Construction of Emotion"), which outlined a theory of emotive forms that he then applied to the decorative arts and architecture. He found in the art of his Jugendstil contemporaries, especially that of Herman Obrist, an exact counterpart for his emotion theory bridging psychology, physiology, and art. In the following years Endell taught himself art, became active as a designer, and established a reputation as the leading theorist of Jugendstil aesthetics.29
In a pamphlet of 1896 titled Um die Schönheit ("About Beauty"), Endell denounced naturalism and proclaimed the sensuous immediacy of art, its utter independence from nature, and its essential quality of form and color, which were to be seen and felt, not "understood."30 He called for a new education to the enjoyment of art, for an awakening of the capacity to see and enjoy form and color, through which the experience of life would be intensified and the artistic mode of seeing would permeate all aspects of life. Endell wanted to abstract art not only from nature, but also from the conscious mind; he wanted to suggest the possibility of an art (and a reality) based solely on an engaged relationship between the object and the emotional constitution of the artist, and subsequently the observer.
29. For more extensive accounts in English of the significance of Endell see Tillmann Buddensieg, "The Early Years of August Endell : Letters to Kurt Breysig from Munich," Art Journal 43, no. 1 (Spring 1983) : 41-49; Kathryn Bloom Hiesinger, Art Nouveau in Munich : Masters of Jugendstil (Philadelphia : Philadelphia Museum of Art and Prestel, 1988), 56-61; Lothar Müller, "The Beauty of the Metropolis : Toward an Aesthetic Urbanism in Turn-of-the-Century Berlin," in Charles W. Haxthausen and Heidrun Suhr, eds., Berlin: Culture & Metropolis (Minneapolis : University of Minnesota Press, 1990), 37-57; and Peg Weiss, Kandinsky in Munich: The Formative Jugendestil Tears (Princeton : Princeton University Press, 1979), 34-40.
30. August Endell, Um die Schönheit. Eine Paraphrase über die Münchener Kunstausstellung 1896 (Munich : Emil Franke, 1896).