Henry Van De Velde Nostitz Chair
  • Henry Van De Velde Nostitz Chair
This piece of seat furniture represents a model the artist recurred to frequently, making various versions of it. The design is thought to go back to a follow-up commission which van de Velde carried out for one of his earliest clients, Alfred von Nostitz-Wallwitz, about 1904/05.

Alfred von Nostitz (who had been at university with Harry, Count Kessler) had become the owner of the most luxurious variant of the celebrated 'Secessionist' or 'Diplomat's Desk' in Berlin in 1900. He also acquired more furnishings for his study as well as drawing-room and bedroom suites. In 1904 he married Helene von Hindenburg, decidedly one of the greatest beauties of her day. She had been acquainted with Auguste Rodin since 1900 and her lively correspondence with Rilke, Kessler and Hofmannsthal bears eloquent witness to the existence of modern tendencies in late Wilhelmine Germany. In the diplomatic service of Saxony, von Nostitz-Wallwitz lived with his wife in Dresden from 1904 in Dresden and from 1908 in Weimar. Each move saw the addition of more Henry van de Velde furnishings.

The armchairs made for Alfred and Helene von Nostitz were of polished mahogany, palisander or ebony with dark leather upholstery to match the other furnishings they had. However, further commissions saw van de Velde delivering chairs in sumptuous cream lacquer with crimson leather or corduroy upholstery. The dining-room suite made for Arnold Esche at Gut Lauterbach (1907/08), Herbert Esche's Chemnitz villa (ca 1911) and an old friend in Berlin, Curt Herrmann (1911) are verified.

Since they take up a lot of space, these comfortable armchairs are only suitable for spacious dining-rooms. However, they were also designed for cosy corners of a drawing-room, as they were for Curt Herrmann.

Some of these chairs in the cream lacquer version are in private collections as well as museums (Stiftung Stadtmuseum Berlin: from Curt Herrmann's estate; Bauhaus University and Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar: from Arnold Esche's estate).

Executed in solid beechwood, stained
Upholstery: leather, fabric

H:80 cm, W:58.5 cm, D:54 cm, SH:47 cm, AH: 70.5 cm

Henry van de Velde