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216

PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED LADY

The Weltausstellungs-Schrank 

A German Art Nouveau gilt bronze and brass mounted rosewood commemorative tryptic Berlin, signed and dated 1901, the cabinet by Alfred Grenander (1863-1931), the painting by Arthur Kampf  (1864-1950) and the metalwork by Otto Rohloff (1863–1919)
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216

PROPERTY OF A DISTINGUISHED LADY

The Weltausstellungs-Schrank 

A German Art Nouveau gilt bronze and brass mounted rosewood commemorative tryptic Berlin, signed and dated 1901, the cabinet by Alfred Grenander (1863-1931), the painting by Arthur Kampf  (1864-1950) and the metalwork by Otto Rohloff (1863–1919)
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Details & Cataloguing

Of Royal and Noble Descent

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The Weltausstellungs-Schrank 

A German Art Nouveau gilt bronze and brass mounted rosewood commemorative tryptic Berlin, signed and dated 1901, the cabinet by Alfred Grenander (1863-1931), the painting by Arthur Kampf  (1864-1950) and the metalwork by Otto Rohloff (1863–1919)
the shaped rosewood case set with gilt bronze mounts and relief plaques, the top with a portrait plaque of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and inlaid text, the doors inset with plaques symbolizing France and Germany and their alliance, with a dedicatory text to Dr. Richter inside and enclosing an allegorical gouache painting signed A. Kampf  and dated 1901, depicting the personifications of Germany and France and the Arts and Crafts, above an inlaid text Weltaustellung Paris 1900 and signed A. Grenander, two narrow long doors at the sides with compartments each with a tooled red leather book with a further dedicatory text and with a list of addresses and signatures of all the German exhibitors at the World Exhibition, the gilt bronze plaques signed O. Rohloff  Berlin; together with a matching tooled leather casket by Collin with the German Eagle and Weltausstellung Paris 1900 on the lid and enclosing further individual dedications of all the exhibitors to Dr. Richter 
201cm. high, 88cm. wide, 24cm. deep; 6ft 7in., 2ft 10½in., 9½in.
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Provenance

The Imperial German state commissioner Dr. Max Richter,

Thence directly by descent.

Literature

Über Land und Meer, 86. Bd., 43. Jg., 1901, S. 486;

Berliner Architekturwelt, 1902, H. 2, S. 68;

Le Figaro, 22.3.1901.

Catalogue Note

This collaborative work was a gift by the German exhibitors of the 1900 Universal Exhibition in Paris to the German delegation commissioner (Reichskommissar)  Dr. Max Richter. Born in Konigsberg in 1856 he was the governor of Posen province becoming counsellor of the Imperial government in 1891. He was a personal friend of Emperor Wilhelm II and headed the German delegation to the 1893 Chicago World Exhibition.

The inscriptions on the cupboard reflect the success of the 1900 delegation. While before the turn of the century the German investments often were characterized by discord and an unbalanced picture of the national economic output, the Paris World exhibition of 1900 nevertheless proved to be a great success. The inscriptions in this piece express the gratitude of the German economy to the German Emperor Wilhelm II - "Nos beaux jours arriveront donc comme ceux des autres" (even for us will come the good days, as they arrived for the others) on the left the inscription from the work of King Frederick II (Mémoires of pour servir à l'histoire de la maison de Brandebourg, 1747); the quote on the right is from Gotthold Ephraim Lessing's Hamburgischen Dramaturgie of 1767  "Zwar ein glückliches Genie vermag viel über sein Volk” (“A happy genius is capable of much for his people").

The official handover of the cupboard took place on March 10, 1901 in the Berlin Hotel Der Kaiserhof, during a ceremony followed by a banquet. About 150 Paris exhibition participants came to the capital from all over Germany to thank Dr. Max Richter personally.

Alfred Grenander was a Swedish born architect who trained first in Stockholm and later in Berlin, where he made his name as the architect of dozens of elevated and underground train stations. A protégé of Henri van de Velde, he was a member and co-founder of the Deutscher Werkbund and designed a substantial number of interiors and furniture in Swedish homes. He was also a teacher at the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin from 1897 until his death in 1931. The more organic Art Nouveau style used by Grenander in this lot later developed into a geometric interpretation of the movement associated with the Scottish-English Arts and Crafts movement and the Vienna Secession in Austria.

Around 1900, the painter Arthur Kampf was considered one of the most promising artists of his time. Appreciated by conservative circles as well as admired by young artists, he studied at the Dusseldorf Art Academy and became known as the last German history painter of note. He led the studio for history painting at the Art Academy in Berlin, where he served as president for two occasions. He was also director of the School of Fine Arts in Berlin. He had a long career and his more famous works were illustrated in schoolbooks, sold in large editions as postcards and wall posters, and employed for purposes of propaganda.

The Berlin sculptor Otto Rohloff was one of the most renowned metal artists of his era and responsible for the bronze work on this cupboard. From 1891 onwards, Rohloff taught at the Royal Arts and Crafts Museum in Berlin and amongst other things, he created the copper reliefs in one of the most representative rooms of the Imperial capital, the White Hall of the Berlin City Palace. At the Paris World Exhibition, Rohloff was awarded the large gold medal for his work.  

The tooled leather casket was made by the Imperial bookbinders, W. Collin. The owner, Max George Collin (1851-1918), developed the so-called "Collin leather", a coloured stained leather cutting, and was one of the most sought after book binders of the period. As was Arthur Kampf and Otto Rohloff, the Manufactory of Collin was one of the exhibitors at the Paris world exhibition of 1900.

We kindly thank Mr. Andreas Schroyen M.A. from Kulturservice Schroyen GbR in Düsseldorf for his assistance in cataloguing this lot. 

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