The Austrian architect and designer Josef Frank (1885-1967) was a leading figure in central European Modernism, contributing to the noted Weissenhofsiedlung exhibition in Stuttgart in 1927. Forced to emigrate to Stockholm in 1933, he developed a highly successful relationship wtih the prominent and influential retailer Estrid Ericson, founder of Svenskt Tenn. It was quite usual, starting in the 1940s, for both Frank and Ericson to use different prints (nordic flowers, sunflowers, maps, vegetables etc) as decoration on furniture and interior walls. The bowl shaped feet with the 'neck', giving the cupboard more air, is typical of Frank's design. This piece was most probably created as a one-off commission for a specific customer of Svenskt Tenn.
A chest of drawers by Frank covered in foliate-patterned lithographic paper was sold Christie's London, 15 May 2008, for £55,700.
The main Latin inscription translates roughly as: 'Images of the Roman emperors from ancient histories, which are preserved, recorded in the thesaurus of Queen Christina, are laid out in chronological order with the details of their fatherland, year, month, day, empire, and appearing in order from the time of one emperor in particular, Julius Caesar, up until the august Leopold'.
We are grateful to Per Ahldén of Svenskt Tenn, and Mrs Kristina Wängberg Eriksson, for their assistance in identifying this lot as the work of Josef Frank.