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Josef Frank Design in Humanistic Modernism

From The Collection of Mrs. John Gutfreund

Stair is pleased to have a Josef Frank for Svenskt Tenn designed “Flora” chest of drawers and hanging cabinet to be offered for sale on Saturday, March 23rd, 2019. Made of mahogany the “Flora” chests have applied botanical illustrations on hand-printed paper from the book “Nordens Flora” by C. A. M. Lindman. Mrs. Gutfreund’s eclectic taste brought together sophistication and simplicity with color, ease, and charm.

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

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 to Sweden where he was hired by Estrid Ericson, owner of Svenskt Tenn a fashionable interior design store in Stockholm.

Svenskt Tenn had their international breakthrough with exhibition rooms 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 success. Svenskt Tenn still have a store located on Strandvägen in Stockholm today. Ericson & Frank’s ideal of humanistic modernism is still considered by Svenskt Tenn as a fundamental aspect of their interior design philosophy.

Related Literature:

Nina Strizler-Levine, Josef Frank, Architect and Designer, An Alternative Vision of the Modern Home, New York 1996, p. 272, no. 122 a.

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