Luxury Design, Past & Present
The German-Austrian painter Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel showed his extraordinary talent at an early age and started an education as a church painter. He soon left the Carinthian monastery where he had started his apprenticeship and continued his education at the Academies of Fine Arts in Munich and Vienna. Later he worked for the Wiener Werkstätte, creating designs for various objects. Most of them were for fabrics, carpets and wallpapers.
His most important commission from this period was the collaboration on the design of the Palais Stoclet in Brussels. The most significant Austrian artists of the time worked on this iconic building, among them Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann and Michael Powolny. Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel designed a wall frieze for the children's room, one meter high and all around. It depicts a mystical forest landscape with exotic animals. Our three panels, which were originally connected to form a paravent, most likely go back to a design for the Palais Stoclet. It was probably created around 1908, before the building was completed in 1911. According to Peter Weber, the artist's executor and a living relative, the panels were made as a unique piece under Jungnickel's supervision. The color was most likely applied to the paper by wood, model or roller printing. Afterwards Jungnickel added some details by hand, a circumstance that was typical for the artist's way of work.
The sketch was published in an article by Berta Zuckerkandel in the contemporary magazine “Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration” from 1913. This frieze marks the beginning of Jungnickel's career as an animal painter. In 1909 he published a series of color prints of animals from the Schönbrunn Zoo, thereby setting a milestone in his career. Such an early work as the three panels is a true curiosity and allows to trace back the development of his style. The connection to the Palais Stocelt, which is still privately owned and not accessible to the public, elevates this work into an extraordinary rarity.
Bib: Ilse Spielvogel-Bodo, Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickel. Wunsiedel 1881-1965 Wien. Ein Leben für die Kunst, Johannes Heyn publ., p. 355