Luxury Design, Past & Present
The Hoffmann pupil and temporary designer for the Wiener Werkstätte, Karl Hagenauer, was one of the leading designers of Viennese design. Until the end of the 1920s Josef Hoffmann commissioned the talented Karl Hagenauer with designs for the Wiener Werkstätte. From around 1930, however, all his attention belonged to the Werkstätte Hagenauer founded by his father Carl Hagenauer. The blueprint of this relief mirror in cast brass dates from this early period.
It is framed on all sides by a seven-centimeter wide relief, richly decorated with stylized figurative representations and ornaments. The many details on it invite the viewer on a fantastic journey of discovery: dogs, cats and mice, even an elephant, as well as seductively secular and mysterious winged creatures cavort between the leaves and the stylized plants. The numerous small episodes on the frame result in a dense narrative, which is loosened up by the illustrations in broken technique.
This design still shows some decorative elements which remind very strongly of the style of the Wiener Werkstätte, above all those of the ornamental genius Dagobert Peche. However, a reduction in figure and ornamentation can already be seen here, for which the Werkstätte Hagenauer later on become famous.
The mirror is marked at the back.
Bib.: comp. Olga Kronsteiner, Monika Wenzl-Bachmeier (ed.), „Hagenauer – Vienna Modernism and New Realism “, exhibition catalogue, Vienna, 2011, page 17