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Armchair
  • Armchair
    Wagner, Otto Colomann, born 1841 - died 1918
  • Enlarge image

Armchair

  • Place of origin:

    Vienna (city) (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1904 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Wagner, Otto Colomann, born 1841 - died 1918 (designer)
    Thonet (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Bent beech and plywood, stained olive brown, with aluminium fittings

  • Museum number:

    W.17-1982

  • Gallery location:

    20th Century, Room 74, case CA4, shelf 51

This chair was designed by Wagner for the Postsparkasse (Post Office Savings Bank) in Vienna. Versions of this chair were used throughout the building, including upholstered models in the director's office and conference room.

The chair's general form recalls an armchair designed by Gustav Siegel and shown at the Paris 1900 Exhibition. Wagner's model, however, has more elegant feet. The 1907 Thonet catalogue listed the aluminium mounts as optional extras. It also offered the option of fine or coarse caning for upholstery, a chair covering often used for light-weight Thonet seat furniture.

Physical description

Armchair of bent beechwood stained olive brown, the legs, arms and rails of square section, the legs joined by a ring stretcher with rounded corners, just below the seat. The front legs curve to form the continuous armrests and backrail. The back legs are flared at bottom and support the curved backrail. Below this backrail, two further rails are closely set, following the curve of the back. Shaped plywood seat, pierced with a grid of holes. The armrests and the front uprights at seat level are mounted with flat straps of aluminium with decorative 'rivets'. The feet show deep, waisted caps of aluminium.

Place of Origin

Vienna (city) (made)

Date

ca. 1904 (made)

Artist/maker

Wagner, Otto Colomann, born 1841 - died 1918 (designer)
Thonet (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Bent beech and plywood, stained olive brown, with aluminium fittings

Dimensions

Height: 79.5 cm, Width: 54.5 cm, Depth: 53.5 cm

Object history note

This armchair was designed by Wagner for the Post Office Savings Bank in Vienna (see alsoW.16-1982 & W.18-1982). Its general form recalls an armchair designed by Gustav Siegel (1880-1970) for J. & J. Kohn, and shown at the Paris 1900 Exhibition. The furniture historian Hevesi saw in this chair the first revival of nineteenth-century bentwood.

Purchased in 1982 from Fischer Fine Art Ltd. [81/2350].

Historical context note

In about 1903 Wagner designed a similar chair for the newspaper Die Zeit made by J. J. Kohn. The Postsparkasse model, designed for the manufacturers Gebrüder Thonet, has more elegant feet and skeletal back, in contrast to the Siegel and Die Zeit models, which had upholstered backs. The armchair, with an upholstered seat, was used in both the conference room and the director's room of the Postsparkasse. This version, with a pierced plywood seat, was presumably for other offices. The 1907 Thonet catalogue listed the aluminium mounts as an optional extra and offerered the option of fine caning or coarse caning for upholstery.

Descriptive line

Austrian 1905-10 des. O.Wagner man. Kohn

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, 1986, no.31 p. 73/74
Das Interieur, I, 1900, pp.156 and 168, illus.
Das Interieur, IV, 1903, p.77, illus.
Gebrüder Thonet: Haupt Katalog, Vienna, 1904, Supplementheft II, 1907 (reprinted New York 1980), p.140, illus.
Hevesi, Ludwig: Altkunst-Neukunst Wien 1894-1908, Vienna, 1909, p.191, Kohn, p.248 (first published 1907)

Materials

Beech; Stain; Aluminium; Bentwood; Plywood

Techniques

Bending; Staining; Bolting

Categories

Furniture

Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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