Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start?

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Post by antoinep on September 27th 2014, 12:16 pm

Hi everybody,

Didn't see a "presentation" section, so I'll start by presenting myself: French collector living in Argentina. I work as a translator to make money & I collect Art and Antiques to spend it. As a gossip, I worked in a French auction house around 1999-2002.

I bought last month a desk and a cupboard, more than likely Austrian from the Jugendstil era. Each detail is finely crafted, there are inlays of wood as well. I even have the original set of keys (same key opens everything).
Of course, when assembling it, not a single screw/nail is needed, every part gets assembled perfectly.

I'm starting the quest of finding who designed it... And that might take me quite some time indeed.
Of course, there are famous names like Olbrich, etc. But they got pupils/students as well, so the designer might be a less known artist.

I'm joining a few pics, can add more if wanted/needed.

Thoughts, leads to explore are very welcome (I'm buying right now all the books I can find about that era)

Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start? Allem10_zps1935cc15

Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start? Allem8_zpsd11e936c

Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start? Allem7_zps5e561877

Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start? Allem3_zpsa22139e3

Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start? Allem2_zps0194f810
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Post by NaomiM on September 27th 2014, 2:55 pm

Welcome to the forum Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start? 124209

My first thought is that the desk is a mix of woods and decoration. Some of the decoration has been applied to one piece of wood and does not extend to its neighbouring section of wood. I don't know if this is a particular style of furniture. My worry is that this desk is a construct of other, dismantled pieces of furniture or off cuts of wood. (I own an example myself), which is a sign it's by a lone carpenter working in the countryside. You may have more luck tracking down it's origin through the metalwork, rather than via the wooden carcass.

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Post by bistoboy on September 27th 2014, 6:31 pm

hi and welcome!

i'm sure you're probably correct with the Austrian attribution. Have you checked the back of the drawers and underneath for any markings, perhaps in pencil? it looks like a nice quality piece.
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Post by NaomiM on September 27th 2014, 7:00 pm

Quality piece but not seeing much age round the metal work on the desk. May be 60-70s. Worth asking on Facebook's MID CENTURY MODERN Group.

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Post by bistoboy on September 27th 2014, 8:13 pm

i think the lack of 'age' around the metal work may simply be that it's been well looked after and regularly polished. The style of the metal work is certainly jugendstil as is the wave feature, and the carcass shape has traces of Biedermeier - particularly the columns. Certainly not 60s-79s IMO. I'm not sure you'll be able to put an individual designers name to it though.
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Post by bistoboy on September 27th 2014, 8:13 pm

i think the lack of 'age' around the metal work may simply be that it's been well looked after and regularly polished - or, it could be that the metal work was added later?  The style of the metal work is certainly jugendstil as is the wave feature, and the carcass shape has traces of Biedermeier - particularly the columns.  Certainly not 60s-79s IMO.  I'm not sure you'll be able to put an individual designers name to it though.
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Post by antoinep on September 27th 2014, 9:52 pm

Thanks for the contributions so far!

Indeed, I'll ask as well the FB group.

I really think it dates back to the early XXth century. Previous owner is not an antique dealer, but has a business that deals with wooden furniture (high quality), so it's not too surprising he took proper care of those. Now my problem is the 2 years old baby I'm raising, but that's a different story.

Furthermore, while browsing what dealers offer from that era in Germany, there are quite many interesting pieces, unfortunately without a name.

When assembling the cupboard, there was a black stamp on one of the back panels (the thin wooden panels that make the back of it). But I think it's rather the stamp of the wood company.

Here goes for this black stamp (likely the wood company who supplied those panels, could help knowing the region though). I did a copy/paste of the stamp in the pic, while rotating it.

Desk & cupboard, Austrian, Jugendstil, early XXth cent... Where to start? Stamp1_zpsbb008b10

I looked quite well already at them, but will look again with a strong torchlight. I might even disassemble one of the locks (if I can reassemble it with no damage) to look if there's any mark behind too.

The desk has an interesting mechanism to put the top part in place (will take a pic tomorrow).

Indeed, it might take me years to find out, but I'm in my mid fourties so I have time left!
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