Not currently on display at the V&A

Armchair

ca. 1904 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Bent beech and plywood, stained olive brown, with aluminium fittings
Brief Description
Austrian 1905-10 des. O.Wagner man. Kohn
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.
Dimensions
  • Height: 79.5cm
  • Width: 54.5cm
  • Depth: 53.5cm
Style
Object history
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
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.
Summary
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.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • 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)
Collection
Accession Number
W.17-1982

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest Feedback

record createdOctober 6, 2003
Record URL