The stage designer Emil Preetorius was born in Mainz on June 21, 1883 and was one of the most important stage designers of the first half of the 20th century.
The young Emil Preetorius successfully studied jurisprudence and art history in Giessen. In 1909 he co-founded a school of illustration and the book trade in Munich together with Paul Renner. In 1928 Preetorius became a professor at the Munich "Hochschule für Bildende Künste".
He became the head of scenery for the Bayreuth "Festspiele" in 1932. During the 1930s Emil Preetorius's scenes, such as the rock of the Valkyrie for the "Ring des Niebelungen", were among the most important and influential designs for Richard Wagner's works. From 1953 to 1968 Emil Preetorius was the president of the "Bayerische Akademie der Schönen Künste" in Munich.
Emil Preetorius died on January 27, 1973 in Munich.