• Henry van de Velde Villa Esche Armchair
The prototype of this chair, which was made quite frequently between 1903 and 1912, was developed in the course of work Henri van de Velde did for the textile manufacturer Herbert Esche, who had commissioned the Belgian designer in 1902 to build a villa for him on the Kassberg at Chemnitz. This was the first opportunity van de Velde had had in Germany after moving from Berlin to Weimar to design and decorate a villa with all its furnishings and appointments including carpets, wallpaper and hangings, curtain materials and other utilitarian objects, amounting to a Gesamtkunstwerk ("total work of art") in the van de Velde New Style.

As had been the case with the furnishings designed for Count Kessler in Weimar, the commission from Herbert Esche and his family gave rise to several models which were used with modifications for later commissions. In 1905 van de Velde's patron Karl Ernst Osthaus arranged for a commission from the firm of Elbers for a conference room for the "Hagen Textiles Industry". This was followed in 1907 by a commission from Arnold Esche to remodel and redecorate the house on his estate near Crimmitschau, Gut Lauterbach.

The armchair still proved its usefulness when the smoking room in the opulent villa owned by Count Dürckheim-Montmartin in Weimar was decorated in 1912. The 1903 Chemnitz prototype was slightly modified for later commissions. Also available without brass castors, it was made in oak and stained oak. The upholstery came in coloured leather - the first model was delivered in blue - as well as plain fabrics designed by van de Velde. A variant sported open side wings (Cat. rais. 1141a). A few exemplars are in private collections as well as the Karl Ernst Osthaus Museum in Hagen and the Bauhaus-Museum der Kunstsammlungen zu Weimar.

Henry van de Velde