Karl Friedrich Schinkel - The Architect London Monday, April 28, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Probably part of a set of twenty-four salon chairs, from the Palais Cumberland, Wilhelmstrasse 70, the Berlin estate of Ernst August Prince of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland and Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg
    Private collection of Heinrich Thiele

  • Exhibited

    ‘Karl Friedrich Schinkel: Two Salon Chairs Berlin 1828/30', Galerie Ulrich Fiedler, Berlin, 17 September-22 October, 2013

  • Literature

    Karl Friedrich Schinkel: Two Salon Chairs Berlin 1828/30, exh. cat., Galerie Ulrich Fiedler, Berlin, 2013, passim for images and drawings

  • Catalogue Essay

    Karl Friedrich Schinkel is considered one of the most important architectural figures of early nineteenth-century Berlin. An early proponent of classicism, Schinkel played a large part in the evolving classical style of the post-Napoleonic period. Schinkel’s abilities in the fields of architecture, fine and applied arts and industrial production positioned him to promote a new era of public engagement with the arts, and to meet the demands of a recently formed bourgeoisie.

    The present chair most likely originated from a set of twenty-four in the Palais Cumberland, residence of Duke Ernst August of Cumberlan. This provenance is supported by a sketch of the chair by Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves (1788-1864) that was probably made on his visit to the palace in 1832. A drawing for this chair by Schinkel’s employee Ludwig Lohde is held in the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings) in Berlin. The present chair is one of five known examples that come from the private collection of Heinrich Thiele.

    The design is based on a classical Greek chair form, with a square caned seat resting on turned legs in the front and restrained cabriole legs in the back. Swept and channeled uprights terminating in scroll finials mirror the graceful arc of the back legs, forming the contour of a bow when viewed in profile. The backsplat, an early use of plywood, is shaped to resemble a textile stretched across fluted dowels, and centered by a rosette flanked with palmettes in maple marquetry. Meticulously constructed, the chair has all the hallmarks and subtle details of the period’s finest craftsmanship. As Dr. Achim Stiegel points out in the catalogue from Galerie Ulrich Fiedler, the material seems to be chosen with an eye for imitation, with the streaks of the mahogany veneer against the pale maple marquetry conjuring silk moiré painted with gold.

    In Schinkel’s pursuit of classicism, he was able to reduce these forms to their essence. In the case of the Neue Wache building (pictured at left) which was built in 1816 and turned into a war memorial in 1931, he has been inspired by the simplicity of classical pediment and column.


Rare and important salon chair

circa 1828-1830
Mahogany, mahogany-veneered plywood, maple marquetry, oak, cane.
86.2 x 46 x 52.9 cm (33 7/8 x 18 1/8 x 20 7/8 in.)
Produced by Karl Wanschaff or Christian Sewening, Germany. Underside impressed with XIII and remnants of paper inventory label printed with No 19.

£25,000 - 35,000 

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Alexander Payne
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The Architect

Created by Lee F. Mindel, London Auction 29 April 2014 6pm