Wednesday, 20 February 2019

George Ehrlich Bronze-Piece of the Week.


Austrian-born sculptor, draughtsman and etcher

He is well known for his delicate and tender studies of children. His bronzes are mainly studies of adolescents or animals, though he also made a number of portrait busts and reliefs.


 He was engaged for many public commissions.










This work is 38cm high and is a study of a young child. 
Arms crossed across the torso they are wearing a loose fitting tunic with a wide kneckline and is signed in the bronze and numbered in latin numerals, I/VI which intimates this is part of a series of cast bronzes.
 I was told it was purchased directly from the artist.
The face has a real sense of feeling even a look of nonsulent melancholy.
 The child seems to be wearing a cap. But then again it could be a bobbin tied in the hair. The child seems to be bound in the pose not able to motion. Gazing out in sadness. Though I feel there is a deeper underlying meaning to the chosen pose, with its Pierrot-esque feel, that the artist wished to convey.
George Ehrlich (I always have to check that spelling) came to Britain in 1937 presumably to escape the Nazis. He had served in the Austrian army during WWI.
George Ehrlich (1897-1966)
Born in Vienna Austria in 1897.
Studied at Kunstgewerbeschule, the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts under the architect Strnad, 1912-15.


He served in the Austrian Army during the First World War. He initially trained as a draughtsman though would study the art of etching.
First one-man exhibition at the Galerie Hans Goltz, Neue Kunst, Munich, 1920. where he lived 1919-21.
He then moved to Berlin 1921 where he lived until 1923.
He began to make sculpture in 1926. First public commission Vienna 1928
Married Bettina Bauer, painter, 1930. His sculpture included in the Austrian pavilion at the Venice Biennale 1932, 1934, 1936 and again 1958.
He then moved back to Vienna where he lived until 1937.
Came to London as a refugee in 1937 and took British nationality. Awarded gold medal at Paris World Exhibition 1937.
Became naturalised British citizen in 1947.
His life-size bronze Bull for Municipality of Vienna was constructed 1959-60.
Awarded the Sculpture Prize of the City of Vienna 1961; elected ARA 1962.




The Arts Council organised a solo exhibition in 1964 which opened at the Aldeburgh Festival in June 1960 Then onto Garratt Green School, Wandsworth, London 1961.
Born in Vienna Austria in 1897.
Lived from 1963 in Italy and Austria, and died in Lucerne.

Exhibitions include : regular exhibitor at Royal Academy from 1940; Arcade Gallery, London 1945 (solo); Leicester Galleries, London 1950 (solo); Lefevre Gallery, London 1953 (solo); Sculpture in the Home, Arts Council 1946; LCC 1948, 54; SB 1951; AC 1957, 60, 61; VB 1958; Middelheim, Antwerp 1959.

Collections include: Tate Gallery; Arts Council; British Museum; Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Commissions include : Two Sisters 1944 for Essendon School for Girls, Hertfordshire; Boy and Girl with Puppy for Hastings High School, Burbage, Leicestershire c. 1956; Sarel House, Bethnal
Further reading: ‘London Commentary’, in Studio, August 1955, Vol. 150, No. 749.
E. Tietze-Conrat, Georg Ehrlich, (London, 1956)
A. Haskell, Georg Ehrlich, Bruton Gallery, Bruton, Somerset, 1978, (exh. cat.).
Biography from Whiteley (2001) with additional information from Hall (2004) and from Judith LeGrove.
Wealth at death: £29,129 0s. 0d.
Probate date: 15 February 1967

He is often associated with Alexander Archipenko   Read More Here







Thursday, 24 January 2019

Auguste Bauer Bronze Venus-Piece of the Week


Its that time of the year again. January, its the customary time to pay your tax as many of you self employed antique dealers out there may realise 

So this is also the time of the year to.....take stock, literally. 
Well when I say take stock I mean take stock of what needs to be sold to pay the tax owed, if any.
It is with deep regret that I put my little bronze beauty up for sale.

 This has never been stock in fact but a personally owned sculpture that I have held dear for decades.
The beautifully patina-ed bronze measuring some 50 cm on a Brocatelle marble square base has been like part of the family to me. 
It has been there with so many house moves. 
But now taking fresh stock of my musts and needs at the present time I have indeed decided to sell.
I started off collecting Art Deco bronzes of note but I have never been able to better this bronze. Whether fond of Art Deco or not the Neo-Classical style is as attractive as any. 


Which is the reason I have held on to it for so long.
This sculpture modelled in Contaposto pose is as good as it gets. Combined with it being a Venus. It ticks a lot of boxes in a lot of peoples list of wants. As it has mine for so long. She is 54cm high and has the most amazing patina. Please don't buy it.




BAUER Auguste
Auguste Bauer (1868 – 1961) Born in Düsseldorf he began his training at the local Arts School, he then continued at the Museum of Decorative Arts.
From 1890 he studied at the Academy in Berlin, first with Ernst Herter, then in 1892 with Gerhard Janensch and Peter Breuer.
Bauer was a member of the Düsseldorf artist association ‘Malkasten’ and created public monuments and architectural sculptures. For example at the Girardet Bridge spanning the canal of the Königsalle in Düsseldorf and numerous monuments.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Keller and Guerin Luneville Vase-Piece of the Week.


  I have had this beautiful pretty little vase for over a decade.Many have tried to prise it away from me but up to now I have not given in to the lure of....money. I keep thinking where am I going to find another one.
It is decorated so simply with floral decoration applied in enamel over a earthenware base. It looks like the flowers are swaying in the wind.
Its only 17cm high, and as a potter I can tell that the thrower has just patted the rim down creating a ever so delicately placed dimple around the neck of the piece where it becomes more rotund, that just gives it a little something extra.
Now even after all this time and without too much research I have to admit I don't know who the exact decorator is. I would love to think its a Ernest Bussiere piece but it could be Louis Majorelle or Lachenal. What I do know is its a little gem.
Signed K G Luneville that is the mark for Keller and Guerin.

In 1728 Jacques Chambrette established the first earthenware factory in Lorraine, in Lunéville besides the river Meuse, not far from Vezouse.
He formulated a new type of earthenware called "terre de Lorraine" in 1748 based on the study of English potteries.
He had great economic and artistic success.
The factory was awarded the status of Manufacture Royale de Fayence by the Ducs of Lorraine in 1749.
The Lunéville manufacture was ti rival the expanding English and German ceramics centres and Chambrette managed to successfully export his wares to Italy, Germany, Poland, Switzerland and even The Netherlands.
In 1786 Sébastien Keller bought Luneville from the Chambrette family following the bankruptcy of the pottery manufacturer in 1785. For the next 137 years, the Keller family controlled the company. In 1832, Sébastien Keller's son aligned with his brother-in-law Guérin to give birth to the mark K&G (or KG) from the names Keller and Guérin and during the following century, Lunéville was the seat of "Keller and Guérin" (Société KG).
Between 1700 and 1800 several faience manufacturers installed their companies in a tight network in Lorraine. The factories produced everyday utilitarian and decorative objects.
Since silver dinner services were prohibited by the king (who used the taxing of such objects to finance his wars), faience manufacturers were able to sell wares more easily.
The artisans were inspired by their surroundings; Subjects were decorated with naturalistic styles, faience was decorated with flowers, insects, real and fictitious animals and exotic figures. They produced faience dogs, which were placed in the halls of houses ( the French have an expression "to stare at each other like faience dogs").
Later on Chinese decorations, introduced by Jesuits who brought back examples from their often dangerous missions. Jacques Chambrette, who suffered from the high taxes that were imposed on him in the ducal region that was controlled on behalf of the King of France, coveted the episcopal area, which was connected to France, but where the influences of Louis XIV were much less smothering.
In 1758, Jacques Chambrette started a second faience factory in Saint-Clément, which lies in the Diocese of the Bishop of Metz. In the 19th century the originally German family Keller, soon allied with Guérin. This gave new life to the factory by industrialising it.
This was an era in which Lunéville and its surroundings provided very skillful workers.
The area around the faience factory, under patronage of Sainte Anne, developed.
In 1900, there were around 1,100 employees. The factory's products had a worldwide reputation and participated successfully in various fields of art and industrial exhibitions.
During the design period we know as Art Nouveau Keller and Guirin employed some of the most gifted designers Louis Majorelle and Ernest Bussiere were to create some of the finest designs. Lachenal would add to the design base of the company.
In 1922 Édouard Fenal, originally from Pexonne and Badonviller, bought the factories of Lunéville and Saint-Clément, so employment was guaranteed in Lunéville and Saint-Clément.
New designers were brought in to cater for the new wealth that was around and the new style that we now know as art deco rushed in with its geometric lines.
Mougin Brothers would help to bring the whole area into a new style.
The Second World War marked a recession.
The name Geo Conde is often seen on wares.
St Clement produced huge quantities of crackle glazed animaliar following the French tradition of sculpting the animal form that went back centuries.
The production of these in ceramic made them more affordable. Some of these animals were of varying quality some having slightly strange colour combinations of deep reds and blues that are highly collectible today.
In 1979 a new group was further developed by buying out the Sarreguemines ceramics complex. Édouard's son, Gilbert, was in charge of the group which also comprises Salins, Vitry-le-François and Digoin.
The Lunéville production stops in 1981.
Only the factory of Saint-Clément is still operational by1999.

In the renovated buildings nowadays small and medium sized companies are still working.

Friday, 30 November 2018

Theodore Deck-Ceramic Genius.

Recently the work of one of the most remarkable craftsmen has become sought after again. The appreciation of his work has never wained in the eyes of those who understand the art of the ceramist but here in England we have for so long concentrated on some of the work of rather average makers such as Susie Cooper and Charlotte Rhead. And of course Clarrice Cliff. Though Charlotte Rhead came from an illustrious family of ceramists. The Rheads were indeed a skilled bunch. But there is not many who can compare to the legacy that is left behind by Theodore Deck. (1823-1891)
What he did was de-industrialise the art of the potter running a workshop with around a score of craftsmen. He was inspired by the middle east and his Persian Ware is indeed now highly valued. It may not be clear as to the influence ha had on British ceramics but I see similarities with some of Burmantofts and by far the most important company in the style of the middle East Mintons.
Deck wrote a book called “La Faience”. I must get a copy of this book as I am informed by Peter Hyland that there is detailed technical information.
As a ceramist myself I have a thirst for the information that potters have or did have in the past. I suck this knowledge up, but the skill in interpreting the techniques are a different matter and trial and error is something that I have learned to take with a rather large dose of patience. Having glaze recipes is only half of it.
Josiah Wedgwood was a chemist first and foremost.
Deck's book La Fiaence was read by some of the best Louis Solon who began at Sevre before moving across the channel to Mintons, admired his writings.
Fiance the word derives from the town of Faenza in Northern Italy but Deck thought the word to be clouding the real historical sense of the fact thet the Persians were making fiaence long before the Italians. We now see some of this Persian ware was indeed Turkish, a style now called Iznik. Any type of earthenware decorated with an enamel or coloured glaze was accepted as Fiaence at the time
.
Deck was born in Guebwiller in the Alsace region of France. This was about 12 miles north-west of Mulhouse at the foot of the Vosges mountains. Mulhouse is the town where Christopher Dresser died. He will always be known for his designs for Mintons. His father Richard was a silk dyer. At secondary school near Belfort Theodore showed a particular love of chemistry. At 17 in 1840 he was forced to return home to Guebwiller to continue the family silk dyeing business along with his brother Xavier.
It didn't work out and he left for Strasbourg where he became a stove-makers apprentice.
Cast Iron stoves covered in ceramic tiles were commonplace in France and Germany. In the crowded marketplace the need to make something functional stand out was paramount to selling ones wares. He learned from his mentor Hugelin the art of using different coloured clays to inlay tiles. This style was kown as Saint Porchaire.
He was not to be kept still in the evenings he studied sculpture with Andre Friedrich.
He recalled how he had been fascinated by a painted terracotta figure he had seen on a school trip to Switzerland and when he asked who made it he was told “A potter”.
He must have liked the sound of this.
He went on his own in 1844 at the age of 21. The art of the stove maker was to travel and show off his work and he was noticed by manufactures who wished to employ him as he travelled through Germany learning local skills and styles along the way.
He made his way to Vienna where he made large stoves to for the Palace of Schonbrunn. He then went on to Budapest, Prague, even Berlin.
In 1847 he returned to France and began to work for Madame Vogt one of the leading stove makers. In 1848 work stopped at the factory when the Second Republic began. He retrned to Guebwiller and set up a small atelier to make vases and decorative objects, oh and stoves. It didnt work out too well for him and in 1851 he returned to Paris where Loius Napoleon had quietened down the unrest.
Madame Vogt's daughter Madame Dumas was his next employer where Deck became foreman. The Exposition Universalle of 1855 saw the Dumas factory exhibiting mosaic tile panels in many colours.
Mintons also exhibited that year with their “earthenwares and stonewares enamelled or glazed majolica. Deck would have seen these. He may also have found out that Minton had been developing low coloured glazes applied to earthenware body creating their majolica. Herbert Minton had seen Palissy ware on a visit to Rouen in 1849. Leon Arnoux had joined Minton in 1849 and became Art Director.
In 1856 he ventured out again with the help of his brother Xavier set up a new atelier at 20, rue Fontaine-au-Roi relocating to Boulevard Saint Jaques eventually moving from stove facings to ornamental ceramics and figures.
Had that school trip stayed with him all these years.
The Henry Deux had been mastered by Deck during his training and it was re-adopted.
The style was based on 16th century book binding designs. The potter Avisseau also reproduced this style that was taken up in the 1860's by Charles Toft at Minton.

He showed his creations at the 1861 Salon des Arts et Industries of 1861 and then the London International Exhibition of 1861. He displayed a copy of a 107cm high piece that was known to be in the Alhambra Palace in Spain before 1400. This vase is now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, acquired shortly after.
He was now firmly rooted in the middle east for his inspiration. Publications were now being made available showing drawings of Islamaic decorative stylles.
Recuil de dessins pour l'art et l'industrie by Orientalist Adalbert de Beaumont it was reissued 20 years later in 1859.
Owen Jones Grammar of Ornament would have been available to him in Paris.
It had reproductions of Arabian decoration and design.

The 1862 Exhibition saw him well received.
After moving rue de Vaugirirard in Paris.
1867 saw the more experienced Deck show off his technical quality that had been improving all the time.
He now employed trained Paris Salon artistes we in Britain would be less familiar with these artistes such as Jean Louis Hamon and Joseph-Victor Ranvier who painted in a Neo-Grec style. Ranvier would become his chief artist.
Felix Braquemond had worked for Criel Sevres and Haviland.
The artistic director of Christophle & Cie known for their gold and silver work, Emile Reiber supplied Deck with various shapes.
Proceeds from a piece of “collaboration” was always divided equally between Deck and the artist. Solon called this an “unprecidented collaboration.”
Solon published The History and description of Old French Faience in 1903.
In it he accounts Deck tells us the conditions were far from a sweatshop but were most ideal. He says the gatherings of artists of the Bohemian persuasion all gathered anxious to see the results of the last firing.
The V&A acquired several more objects and his reputation was growing wildly. His work often showed semi-clad nymphs some of which show a foretaste of W. S Coleman's work for Minton.
It is not known if the artists influenced each other but Colin Minton Campbell Director of Minton appointed Coleman in 1871 and was known to admire Deck's work.
Mintons were exhibitors in the 1867 Paris Exhibition and he purchased some of Deck's work, for his own collection.
He was offered the chance to half share (without any capital) in a pottery he planned to build....in Leeds.
Deck preferred to stay in Paris and declined.
Could this wealthy industrialist be John Holroyd who in 1863 bought the firm of Wilcox & Co Sanitary Ware near Leeds and in 1870 expanded the factory to trade as Burmantofts Pottery.
Burmantofts came close to Decks Persian ware it is an interesting thought what might have been.
He continued to experiment some of his shapes were now becoming Chinese in inspiration with naturalistic designs on white ground. His move into high fired porcelain in 1868 became cost pro-hibitive and were discontinued.
Deck stood in Municipal elections in Paris just after the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War which saw the siege of Paris. Armistice was signed in 1871 but at this time Alsace was taken over by Prussia. He decided to stay French as many Alsatians did.
In 1873 he scored notable success in Vienna being awarded Medalion d'Honnneur.
This is when Edmond Lachenal was mentioned prominantly on his stand.
Edmond would go on to found his own factory. His son Roaul would continue his work through the 30's into a more geometric style.
Deck now had a shop close to the Grande Opera on Rue Halevy.
So it was the period we now call Aesthetic Movement that saw a seed change in styles and inspiration came from all over the world not just the middle east and new artists and industrialists were always looking to exploit the prevailing taste. This melting pot of design was being formed and it is easy to look back now and talk about it in sequence, but at the time a movement was in force that could not be stopped and wealth was available to purchase. History was, literally being made.
It was said in contemporary account published in the Pottery Gazette that his pottery “stands tranquil and as silent in its radiant garden as if its gay creations were all the work of magic”.
Round furnaces were noted and the Director kept the composition of the green-grey Deck Clay secret.
In La Faience he says he could not give fixed formula's on Faience body as it depended on locality.
The Gazette reporter was in no doubt to the overall quality of the enamel, meaning of course the glaze saying. “Extroadarily lustrous, reflecting the light from every protruding boss angle, and curve, as if from burnished glass”.
Deck's love of chemistry enabled him to write with fluidity but merely reading about it does not give a craftsman the level of skill he had. You have to do it.
All potters should bow down to the techniques laid down by Deck.
Many of his glaze recipes are printed in his book but as previously stated that's only half of replicating his work.
By 1887 many other companies had formulated their own Persian Blue but it was thought it was derived from inspiration of Theodore Deck.
Long before I know Le Bleu Deck I knew Lachenal Blue from my buying trips to France.
I have an unavoidable attraction to its distinctive velvet sheen. I did not notice so much at first the patterns of deck mixing these in my mind with traditional Iznik pieces. I have purchased pieces by Lachenal that may have been from Deck's own atelier by style.
I do not own La Fiaence yet but the inspiration from which I choose to write, is from the well researched account of Deck's work by Peter Hyland for the Northern Ceramics Society Journal Volume 33.
Peter writes about Deck's move into Gold ground inspired by seeing the mosaics in St marks in Venice where he exhibited in 1873.
He tells us how he mixes glaze and creates lustre, texture and even the way he applies. Yes if it was that easy.
The 1880's sees more of his Chinese ware accompanied by Japanese.
In 1878 Deck was nominated Officier de la legion d'Honneur.
In 1880 he exhibited a flambe glaze by a reduction firing.
Sevres were conduction flambe experiments by official ministry. The Commission de Perfectionment that had been set up in 1872 described Deck's 20 exhibits as remarkable and unforgettable.
In 1887 he was offered the post of Art Director at Sevres on the departure of Charles Lauth at the age of 64. He felt he had to accept even with ill health.
Xavier his brother was entrusted with the day to day running of production.
Deck, a practical man found it hard to cope with the tradition and management structure at Sevres. The aftermath of Lauth's departure saw him caught up in the middle of politics at Sevres.
He was accused of using his postion to enhance his own factory, but he stook at it exhibiting his Grosse Porcelaine in the 1889 Exposition Universalle.
He died in May 1891. His remarkable brother Xavier continued the business and exhibited at London's Grafton galleries in 1893, in Paris 1896 and in Brussels 1897, all with success.
Without Deck's innovation it did not move with the times into, art Nouveau that cut across Europe at blistering speed. Xavier died in 1904 and the pottery closed. It was demolished two years later.

As a national figure Theodore was given the honour of burial in Montparnasse cemetry where so many of Frances cultural innovators were buried.
In 2013 he was featured on a postage stamp.
Decks gravestone was designed by Auguste Bartholdi, who designed the statue of liberty. It incorporated faience panels in Deck Bleu and was inscribed 'erpuit coelo lumen'-translated it reads.
“He snatched the light from the heavens”.
The headstone was encrusted with a portrait medallion by Ferdinand Levillian.
There were other potters of course but they must all acknowledge Theodore Deck.







Sunday, 4 November 2018

Parlons Francais by Paul Iribe-Piece of the Week.


I bought this, what I could call, historic document some 20 years ago, possibly 1998, on a street market in the town of Orleans France.
 Those were exciting times, Britain had only just joined the economic union and customs were opened up so France was a storeroom full of Art Deco that I could use to generate stock with a more classic line than some of what could be called more average British design.
I was over in France at least once a month. 
We had to eat out all the time and of course you have to have a glass of wine with your meal while there. Y'know perks of the job. We roughed it a bit but it was enjoyable. there were hardly any tourists then. Before the cheap no frill airlines invaded.
Somehow or other this book has stayed with me all this time. 
I recall the morning I bought it well.
 I had slept in the van the night before, on the front seat,  with Colin the window rattler who snored his head off in the back of the van. I woke up more tired than when I went to sleep.
The early bird catches the worm, and all that.
It was also the day that I found an original Hispana Suiza car mascot in good condition.
That I sold to a local motor museum in Mouldsworth. 
I wish I still had that too, its very rare and the more they have been reproduced the more valuable the original has become. James still has it too. When he closed the museum down he showed me it.
He knew he had something rare he kept it for his own collection.

This colourful printed folio of designs, I was surprised to find, was by Paul Iribe.
 The idea for the publication had been suggested by Maurice Constantin-Weyer and printed in Paris.
Knowing some of the work of Paul Iribe who was an all round designer of furniture fashion and art, it went against the grain of his work. I was confused initially.
It was angry and and had a real punch to it.
Then I thought, well wouldn't you be angry.
 It was published in 1934 and the first hundred copies were kept for the artist. Now, I say its called Parlons Francais which is ironic because I did not speak very good French myself and missed the point initially. That it is called Parlon Francais and not Parle Francais.
Yes here it seems, Paul Iribe is speaking for the French in his mind.
1934 was a mere 15 years after the treaty of Versailles which was signed in 1919 the year after the cessation of the conflict of the First World War that saw so many of his compatriots die.
I have not done any research about whether the artist was there in the trenches, but he was definitely there in spirit.
 The language of the art with its captions is vitriolic and holds no punches.
 It is hard to imagine now today, with the vile comments on social media becoming commonplace, but here in 1934 this is about as strong as you could get.
And from a man who designed ladies clothes, who was in fact at one time the partner of Coco Chanel. 
It opens up another side to the man who designed the famous Nautilus Chair, examples of which are on view at The Waldorf, New York.
 Many other examples of his designs make small fortunes when they appear in the, usually, upper class salerooms.
So this was a man with sensitive desires to furnish the stately modernist Ocean Liners that traversed across the Atlantic.
That were sponsored by the State, The Republic of France.
And yet here he was in 1934, counting the cost of the First World war and it looks to me, projecting the death that was about to befall his country in 1939, some five years after its publication when the Nazis invaded.
This is a man who was not scared to upset the establishment.
I don't understand all the Parle or recognise a lot of the named and shamed but I know enough to see that he was fuming with rage.
 Rage at the people who were trusting the Nazi regime when they were about to cross the borders, once again, and this time make it all the way to Paris.
I am not looking any further into the history of the war time occupation, of France. 
I don't have the time in my head this week as the 100 year anniversary of the end of hostilities comes about this next week. It is a sad time to reflect.
I will be too busy remembering those fallen and some of those that fought, I knew.
 My Grandfather was there. Last year I remembered Passchendaele and those I did not know.
 I have spoken to many who have now sadly passed. But I will not forget them. Forthey sacrificed themselves so we could be free. And speak freely.
While wars still rage I will take a short time to think about those who warn of the dangers ahead. 
Paul Iribe was one of those.
 I respect the memory of what he did and sometime I will find my way into looking into the interesting, brave predictive, strong character that was Paul Iribe.
He unlike so many others these days was also bold enough to put his name to his words and sign this copy right above the French tricolour on the frontispiece.
I feel proud to have a link back to this man who told the truth and was not afraid. Parlon Francais.

It appears to me to be a historical document. Lest we forget. At our peril.

Friday, 21 September 2018

Joseph Hoffman Die Fledermaus Chair-Piece of the Week.

Stained Beech Bent and solid wood frame. Turned legs.
This is a chair with balls.
Designed 1905-08 by Joseph Hoffman for the cafe at the  Caberet Fledermaus which opened in October 1907 in Vienna  .

Fledermaus translated simply means flying mouse, or Bat.

Its wickedly simple construction makes this chair, one of the most influential designs of the early 20th century.

Noted as model no 728 in J & J Kohns furniture catalogue.

It is hard to now believe that this piece of early modernism was made during the Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts period. One Hundred years ago.
Its simple construction lends it to mass production, something that both Thonet and Jacob and Joseph Kohn were the predominant manufacturers of. 
They were always on the look out for interesting shapes and at the time of putting this chair into production and were largely responsible for making affordable furniture for the masses.

Gerbruder Thonet had put into production Model no14 in 1859. This chair is still in production today.
I have sold several Model no 1 which was manufactured in 1866 and this rocking chair still seems worthy of a trendy loft apartment today originally manufactured with its woven cane seat and back into its solid and bentwood frame. 
Chair design also owes a debt of gratitude to the wrought iron semi cantilevered chair that was shown at the great exhibition of 1851. Thought to have been designed by R.W. Winfield & Co it still has a deep buttoned upholstery seat and arm pads that sat on a slatted frame. 
This was being produced, in a slightly altered guise in Germany by L & C Arnold and it must have influenced many.
The construction of chairs was altered by fashion and at the turn of the 20th century simplicity was required in certain circles and this was a democratisation of furniture bringing simple style into the homes of many.
While Louis Majorelle and Galle were making works of art in solid mahogany with gilt mounts and exhibiting them to an international audience. The quiet revolution was taking place.
When Marcel Beuer designed B33 in 1927 made from tubular steel with a simple leather seat it was manufactured by the progressive company Gebruder Thonet in Frankenberg from 1929.
 It is still being manufactured today.
Would there have been a Bauhaus without Joseph Hoffman? Probably not. 
Palais Stoclet designed by Hoffman was a turning point in architecture for many.
Hoffman met Charles Rennie MacKintosh in 1902 and the combustion of ideas from two continents certainly fuelled the fire in the bellies of the Wiener Werkstatte of Vienna. Hailed as a genius by the Viennese. MacKintosh would die largely a forgotten man in his own country but be held as a everlasting beacon of hope in Europe.
The Die Fledermaus chair was originally painted white and these original chairs now command a kings ransom but this version is shown in a 1916 sales catalogue for J& J Kohn as model no 728.
This is a chair with balls. 
Something that along with the chequer board motif was Hoffmans trade mark. 
He would come to be know as square Hoffman.
And it works in all its variations of the theme its simple decoration, less is more is now proving ever more popular with a new generation who seem to have abandoned the past, wanting it only in limited quantities.
This chair, one of a pair has an original label underneath that says THONET MUNDUS. Mundus were a manufacturer and merged with  J & J Kohn in 1914 to furnish the growing sales of the company.
Thonet merged with Mundus in 1921
The original fabric is very interesting it appears to be a design that Gustav Klimt could have done, or was it a general swirl that he adopted from what was around him. Klimt was an original member of the Weimer Werkstatte.
This design has now taken on legendary status.
When you say museum quality.
I sold a exacting pair to The Walker art Gallery along with a side table some time ago.
I held this pair back. 

Its now time to let them go and let someone else have the pleasure of them.



 The pair are in original condition bearing Thonet Mundus-Borlova labels to the underside. 

Price £3750 for the pair.

















Monday, 3 September 2018

Littlewoods Goes Up In Flames. I Am Gutted.


LITTLEWOODS ON THE EDGE.
It seems a long time ago now, 2002 or so when I found that there was a planning application to demolish The Littlewoods Building on Edge lane.
This seemed a stupid idea to me.
 It was a landmark building.
An Art Deco building straddling Botanic Gardens looking like a giant ocean liner on the crest of a green wave.
A landmark for the city.
It survived the blitz but would it survive the North West Development Agency who now took it into their portfolio.
 This was dangerous times for the whole rundown area.
Where would it be without a focal point.
http://waynecolquhoun.blogspot.com/2012/11/art-deco-architecture-in-liverpool.html
I kicked into gear and ran a press campaign to save it. I felt I was qualified to express my opinions to the style of architecture being a specialist in the Art Deco period, a period still undervalued and I made an application to list it.
The application was supported by the C20 society with special help from the late Gavin Stamp, a real champion of Liverpools heritage.
I got their support and the support of SAVE Britain's Heritage who were in the same building in Cowcross Street London at the time.
Through frantic last minute negotiations I managed to get the ear of the then Council leader Mike Storey who was also a board member Liverpool Land company and we managed to get the prowess of the structure recognised as important.
Then I found out English Heritage would not list it.
I have lost count how many time those English Heretics have hindered the saving of a structure. Though there have been successes.
I recall as the only objector to the Museum of Liverpool at The Pier Head pleading with the planning committee in 2005 to reject the scheme, and telling them, here, in Edge Lane, this was the perfect building for a museum, a ready made structure.
“Why does the city centre get it all” I asked “Surely the people of Edge lane deserve the chance”. I cried. “This would kick start the regeneration that was long overdue”. They did not listen.
Piloti writing in Nooks and Corners for Private Eye took up the cause and give me some valuable print. The Daily post and in particular Peter Elson gave it pages of airtime. The public seemed to love this building and got behind the campaign. Letters appeared in the press and it was agreed by the council that it was a important local landmark.
Mike Storey and his council put out a call for ideas and the need to create a scheme that would work and it was announced that Urban Splash had won and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Then nothing happened and the recession crept in.
Then that scheme was dropped then there was a foolish announcement to turn it into a school.
Nothing happened. Other schemes came and went and nothing happened.
Recently there has been a lot of emphasis on filming the city. Even though most of the films have been low grade rubbish there a big ideas and it was announced that this building would become “A huge complex that'll be a breeding ground for the best creative talents in the UK”. http://www.liverpoolfilmoffice.tv/home/capitalcentric-acquires-iconic-littlewoods-buildings/
I had a real sense of pride in helping to save the landmark and silently inside I was so proud of spending my time in effort for no financial return but for the love of my city.

Well all that work now looks a waste of time and any scheme to regenerate the area now looks in doubt after a fire has raged through the structure leaving it gutted.
I am gutted too. I drove over to see the building being engulfed last night,  as soon as I received a text from Peter Elson. It was heartbreaking.
The fire starting on the 2nd September at 7 o'clock, it took several hours to bring under control and when I saw the fire it looked as if the building that survived the blitz Militant and 20 years of decay has been finally wrecked by the years of inactivity. Twenty years it has been laying there empty. While a fortune of European Objective One Funding totalling near a billion pounds there was no money for the first landmark you see driving into the city at the end of the M62.
So now what for the Littlewoods Building. Lets hope they don't clear the site and build student flats, that would be a crime. Actually who started the fire?
Some serious enquiries need to be made. There were several outbursts of anger around the fire last night with questions being asked, just as to how the tragic fire started. Some asking how this fire started. 
Just weeks after it was announced that Channel 4 would not be bringing their news headquarters to Liverpool. Very Strange indeed.