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Josef Frank’s Designs at Svenskt Tenn, Stockholm

“There’s nothing wrong with mixing old and new, with combining different furniture styles, colors and patterns. Things that you like will automatically fuse to form a relaxing entity.” -Josef Frank

Josef Frank and Susan Gutfreund share a like-minded design philosophy, which attracted Mrs. Gutfreund to the vintage cabinet from Josef Frank’s ‘Flora’ series. Stair will be offering this special cabinet in an upcoming auction. This important piece of furniture was on exhibition at The Cleveland Museum of Art from February 2019 to February 2020.

Stephen Harrison, the curator of the exhibition wrote that “Typical of industrial designers of that era, Frank worked in several sectors of the furnishings industry, designing furniture and textiles for multiple companies. His influential work included brightly colored, naturalistic patterns based on botanical prints by 18th-century Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. Moved by the beauty and detail of these prints, Frank used them to decoupage the outside of cabinets and as inspiration for his own textile patterns.”

Josef Frank (July 15, 1885 – January 8, 1967) was an Austrian-born architect, artist, and designer. He grew up in Vienna and studied architecture at Konstgewerbeschule. In 1933, he and his Swedish wife emigrated from Austria to Sweden where he was hired by Estrid Ericson, owner of Svenskt Tenn, a fashionable interior design store in Stockholm.

Svenskt Tenn became internationally known with the exhibition rooms they designed at the World Expositions in Paris in 1937 and New York in 1939. Estrid Ericson’s artistry and entrepreneurship, together with Josef Frank’s freer, more artistic style, which valued comfort, hominess and a wealth of color,  were a huge success. Svenskt Tenn still has  a store located on Strandvägen in Stockholm today. Ericson and Frank’s ideal of humanistic modernism is still considered by Svenskt Tenn as a fundamental aspect of their interior design philosophy.

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