Austrian Secessionist Arts & Crafts Period Ebonized Jewelry Box
This exceptional ebonized wooden faux-ivory decorated jewelry or trinket box, circa 1910s, features white painted motifs and cupid in sailboat, possibly by the influential Secessionist period artist and designer for the Wiener Werkstatte, Dagobert Peche (Austrian, 1887-1923) or his contemporary, Michael Powolny (1871-1954). Underside has an old paper label with monogram. Measures 8.5 x 6 x 4 in (21.6 x 15.2 x 10.2 cm).
For a very similar painted wooden box by Peche, see lot 19 of Tajan's sale on December 9, 2009.
Peche was a key figure in the Austrian arts and crafts movement, who along with Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser, established the defining styles of the Wiener Werkstatte. He worked in a wide variety of mediums, and is best known for his interior designs, and designs for furniture, wallpaper, fashion and textiles, ceramics, jewelry, and metals. Initially hired as an assistant by Josef Hoffmann, he went on to greatly influence the co-founder of the Secessionist movement. Upon Peche's death in 1923, Hoffmann wrote "Dagobert Peche was Austria's greatest genius in ornamentation since the days of the Baroque."
In 2002 the Neue Galerie in New York presented "Dagobert Peche and the Wiener Werkstätte", a comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Peche's work. The exhibition catalog of the same title, by Peter Noever, was published by the Yale University Press in that year, and included 500 images and contributions by Hanna Egger, Gabriele Fabiankowitsch, Rainald Franz, Waltraud Neuwirth and Nina Claudia Trauth, Sabine Plakolm-Forsthuber, Ernst Ploil, Anne-Katrin Rossberg, August Ruhs, Nikolaus Schaffer, Elisabeth Schmuttermeier, Nancy J. Troy, Angela Volker, and Christian Witt-Doring.
Powolny is known for his abstract designs in glass, and for his figurative ceramics, often executed in black and white colors, and often featuring the ball feet as seen in our box.