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Chest of drawers
  • Chest of drawers
    Loos, Adolf, born 1870 - died 1933
  • Enlarge image

Chest of drawers

  • Place of origin:

    Vienna (city) (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Loos, Adolf, born 1870 - died 1933 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Maple, the carcase of deal with oak panels, brass handles, and cladding, the base covered in brass sheet

  • Museum number:

    W.19:1, 2-1982

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This chest of drawers was designed by Adolf Loos around 1900 for the apartment of Gustav and Marie Turnowsky in Vienna. Marie Turnoswky's brother was a friend of Loos'.

The chest of drawers was designed en suite with a room divider, a cupboard, a dressing table and a wardrobe. Its cubic shape, simple outline and the unusual brass handles root this piece firmly in the ideas of the Vienna Secession movement. However, the panelled construction of the wardrobe derives from traditional cabinet-making techniques.

Adolf Loos used the same handles on a sideboard designed in 1900 for the Vienna apartment of the essayist, Dr Otto Stoessl.

Physical description

Maple-veneered deal and oak chest-of-drawers on brass-covered plinth, with four drawers above two doors, the exposed carcase mouldings at the front decorated with grooves, the sides panelled. The handles and lock plates rectangular and of brass.

Place of Origin

Vienna (city) (made)

Date

ca. 1900 (made)

Artist/maker

Loos, Adolf, born 1870 - died 1933 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Maple, the carcase of deal with oak panels, brass handles, and cladding, the base covered in brass sheet

Dimensions

Height: 199 cm, Width: 99 cm, Depth: 62.5 cm

Object history note

This chest of drawers was designed for the apartment of Gustav and Marie Turnowsky at 19 Wohllebengasse, Vienna 4. In about 1915 it was removed to their new apartment at 20 Gusshausstrasse, Vienna 4, where Loos designed an ante-room. Who made the chest-of-drawers cannot be established; it may have been the firm of Friedrich Otto Schmidt who showed furniture from the Turnosky apartment at the 1900/1901 Winter exhibition of the Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie.

Historical context note

Handles similar to those on this chest of drawers were used by Loos on a bedside cupboard designed in 1899 for the art historian, Dr Hugo Haberfeld, who wrote on Austrian art in The Studio (1906) and in 1913 delivered a lecture on Loos in Vienna. Exactly the same handles were used by Loos on a great sideboard of dark-stained oak, designed in 1900 for the Vienna apartment of the essayist, Dr Otto Stoessl (1875-1936).

The bedroom in the Turnosky apartment also contained a room divider, a cupboard, a dressing table and wardrobe en suite with this chest of drawers.
In 1931, Heinrich Kulka (1900-1974), pupil, friend and colleague of Loos, drew attention to Loos's revival of traditional panelled construction in these pieces, in contrast not only to the specious designs of Hoffmann and Van de Velde, but also to the furniture shown in the Werkbund's Die Form ohne Ornament (1924).

Descriptive line

Austrian (Vienna), 1899-1900, des. Adolf Loos

to Chest of Drawers, 1 new

Top drawer from chest of drawers. Austrian (Vienna), 1899-1900, des. Adolf Loos

Second drawer from top from chest of drawers. Austrian (Vienna), 1899-1900, des. Adolf Loos

Third drawer from top from chest of drawers. Austrian (Vienna), 1899-1900, des. Adolf Loos

Fourth drawer from top from chest of drawers. Austrian (Vienna), 1899-1900, des. Adolf Loos

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Jervis, Simon: Furniture Of About 1900 From Austria & Hungary In The Victoria & Albert Museum, London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1987, no.15, p. 42, 43
Moderne Vergangenheit Wien 1800-1900, Künstlerhaus, Vienna, 1981, p. 262, illus.
Rukschcio, Burkhardt & Schachel, Roland: Adolf Loos, Vienna, 1982, pp. 69-70, Plate 128 (colour), pp. 423-424.
Traum und Wirklichkeit, Wien 1870-1930 , Vienna, 1985, p. 440.

Labels and date

CHEST OF DRAWERS

W.19-1982

'American and European Art and Design 1800-1900'

This chest was designed for the bedroom of the apartment of Gustav and Marie Turnowsky. It was probably made by the firm of Friedrich Otto Schmidt, who showed furniture for the apartment at the 1900/1901 Winter Exhibition of the Vienna Applied Arts Museum. Loos's pupil Heinrich Kulka (1900-1974) drew attention in 1931 to Loos's revival of panelled construction in this piece, in contrast to the specious designs of Hoffmann and Van de Velde. [1987-2006]

Materials

Maple; Deal; Oak; Brass (alloy)

Techniques

Cabinet-making; Veneering; Cladding (metal coating)

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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