Japonisierender Schreibsekretar 01

Writing Secretary in Japanese Style

Execution K. u. K. (Imperial) Art Capentry Heinrich Irmler, Vienna, around 1915

This writ­ing fur­ni­ture, cre­at­ed in two parts, con­sists of a con­sole-shaped base. The four feet are adorned on all sides with elab­o­rate­ly hand­craft­ed geo­met­ric hexag­o­nal bor­ders. Both the cor­ners beneath the writ­ing sur­face and the cross-brac­ing of the feet are dec­o­rat­ed with geo­met­ric orna­ments typ­i­cal of Asian style.

The two main draw­ers of the base are flanked on both sides by com­part­ments on which the extend­able writ­ing sur­face rests. The draw­er han­dles are recessed and inte­grat­ed into the veneered draw­er front, which is slight­ly out­ward­ly curved.

The writ­ing sur­face is ele­gant­ly veneered in exot­ic Makas­sar wood and adorned on the front with a small, encir­cling carved border.

The two doors fea­ture fine­ly dif­fer­ent­ly paint­ed porce­lain pic­tures in their cen­ters. The del­i­cate­ly paint­ed porce­lain pic­tures in the Japan­ese style depict a moun­tain land­scape in the back­ground. In the fore­ground, we see grass, branch­es with flow­ers, and leaves on which birds are perched.

The inte­ri­or of the sec­re­tary is made of orna­men­tal pine wood. The cen­ter is occu­pied by a small lock­able taber­na­cle, which is flanked on both sides by var­i­ous hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal com­part­ments as well as small draw­ers. Below this area, there is a con­tin­u­ous shelf run­ning the entire width. The piece of fur­ni­ture is also exclu­sive­ly veneered on its back, allow­ing it to be placed freely in a room.

The two large keys, made of brass, are signed with H. Irm­ler Wien. This piece of fur­ni­ture is a splen­did exam­ple of the excep­tion­al­ly high crafts­man­ship of the work­shops of Art Car­pen­try Irm­ler, known for pro­duc­ing for both their elite clien­tele and the most renowned archi­tects of that era.

Hein­rich Irm­ler was a sig­nif­i­cant fig­ure in the art of car­pen­try in Vien­na dur­ing the late 19th and ear­ly 20th cen­turies. His com­pa­ny was one of the lead­ing art car­pen­try estab­lish­ments of that time. Its prox­im­i­ty to the School of Applied Arts, whose pro­fes­sors, as well as to archi­tects of the Vien­na Seces­sion such as Otto Prutsch­er, enabled the pro­duc­tion of the most renowned art and fur­ni­ture car­pen­try accord­ing to their mod­ern designs. Many of the notable art car­pen­try fam­i­lies sent their chil­dren to the new­ly estab­lished School of Applied Arts to learn the mod­ern design lan­guage from the pro­fes­sors who taught there.

The Vien­na School of Applied Arts:

Emper­or Franz Joseph I found­ed the School of Applied Arts of the Impe­r­i­al and Roy­al Aus­tri­an Muse­um of Art and Indus­try’ in Sep­tem­ber 1867 and opened it on Octo­ber 1, 1868. In 1877, the School of Applied Arts moved to its own new­ly con­struct­ed school build­ing by Hein­rich Fer­s­tel (1, Stuben­ring 3). The Uni­ver­si­ty of Applied Arts Vien­na emerged from the School of Applied Arts in 1999. Feli­cian von Myr­bach, a mem­ber of the new­ly found­ed Vien­na Seces­sion artists’ asso­ci­a­tion, was appoint­ed direc­tor of the school in 1899, a year after it was sep­a­rat­ed from the admin­is­tra­tion of the museum.

Myr­bach’s tenure saw numer­ous reforms and appoint­ments that made the School of Applied Arts one of the birth­places of the Aus­tri­an Art Nou­veau move­ment and estab­lished its rep­u­ta­tion as a mod­ern-ori­ent­ed institution.

Otto Wag­n­er, as a mem­ber of the school’s board of direc­tors, had a sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on its reform imple­men­ta­tion. The fac­ul­ty at the time reads like a who’s who of the much-cel­e­brat­ed Vien­na around 1900’, with names such as Kolo­man Moser, Josef Hoff­mann, Alfred Roller (who began his influ­en­tial term as direc­tor in 1909), and stu­dents like Oskar Kokoschka.

As one of the many grad­u­ates of that era, Gus­tav Klimt is worth men­tion­ing here.

Hein­rich Irm­ler (18391914), K. u. K. (Impe­r­i­al) Art Car­pen­ter Vienna:

In 1871, Irm­ler began pro­duc­ing art fur­ni­ture, which soon gained wide­spread pop­u­lar­i­ty. In well-equipped mod­ern work­shops, he craft­ed elab­o­rate fur­ni­ture for an upscale clien­tele. He also cre­at­ed office and hotel fur­nish­ings in a sep­a­rate depart­ment. Sig­nif­i­cant com­mis­sions in Vien­na in which he was involved includ­ed the inte­ri­or design of the Nat­ur­al His­to­ry Muse­um, the Par­lia­ment, the Palace of Jus­tice, the City Hall, the Uni­ver­si­ty, and the Cham­ber of Com­merce. Due to his par­tic­i­pa­tion in numer­ous exhi­bi­tions, where he received many awards, he suc­cess­ful­ly attract­ed inter­na­tion­al cus­tomers to his high-qual­i­ty products.

In 1908, his son took over the lead­er­ship of the company.

Ref­er­ences: Die Möbel-Kun­stin­dus­trie Österr.,’ in: Großind. Österr.,’ Erg. Bd. Tl. 1, S. 159f.

L.: N.Fr.Pr.’ from Novem­ber 12, 1914; Großind. Österr.,’ Erg. Bd., S. 344.

Pub­li­ca­tion: ÖBL 1815 – 1950,’ Vol. 3 (Issue 11, 1961), S. 42.”

Japonisierender Schreibsekretar 02
Viennese Writing Secretary in Japanese Style H: 125 cm, W: 97 cm, D: 48 cm
Japonisierender Schreibsekretar 04
Japonisierender Schreibsekretar 06a
Japonisierender Schreibsekretar 06b
Japonisierender Schreibsekretar 07
Japonisierender Schreibsekretar 09
IMG 0434
Literature Austria at the World Exhibition Paris 1900; Austrian Craftsmanship by Max Eisler, Published by the Austrian Werkbund in 1916 Page 110; a design of a dining room by Otto Prutscher executed by Imperial and Royal Court Carpenter Heinrich Irmler.
IMG 0439