Neuwied am Rhein, 1776
Clock: signed Knitzing à Neuwied
Flame maple wood, stained brown, rose and myrtlewood, gilded bronze fittings
MAK CHAIR, 2008
H 3402 / donation Tom Dixon
WALL ÉTAGÈRE FROM THE FURNISHINGS FOR THE STUDIO HOUSE OF ERNST STÖHR
Vienna, ca. 1898
Softwood, fomerly greren-stained
TABLE AND TWO BENCHES for the MAK Event First Supper
Plastic, soft wood
H 3514 / 2011 to H 3516 / 2011
WASHSTAND FROM THE LIVING ROOM FURNISHINGS OF A MARRIED WORKER
Elmwood, marble top, polished iron ring handles
BED NO. 11
Manufacturer: Janssen C.V.
Aluman sheet, stove-enameled
ANTLER CHAIR FROM THE IMPERIAL HUNTING LODGE IN NEUBERG/MÜRZ
Austria, late 1850s
Wood, deer and roebuck antlers, textile, brass tacks
Uwe van Afferden
Elk antlers, ventilator (Hunter company, USA)
CLUB CHAIR FROM THE APARTMENT FURNISHINGS FOR HERMANN WITTGENSTEIN
Manufacture: Wiener Werkstätte
Oak wood, solid and veneered, stained, textile upholstery
SIDEBOARD DER REICHE FISCHZUG [THE RICH HAUL]
Manufacture: Portois & Fix
Maple, boxwood and pyramid mahogany, glass, faceted glass, brass
CABINET FOR THE 1873 WORLDS FAIR IN VIENNA
Manufacture: F. Michel (carpentry), F. Laufberger (painting), J. Schindler (carvings), J. Panigl (ivory carving), F. W. Bader u. J. Schwerdtner (engraving for the wood and ivory inlays)
Ebony, solid and veneered, pearwood, ivory
Italy, ca. mid-16th c.
John Sollie Henry
England, late 19th c.
Mahogany, carved and polished, leather upholstery
Robert Maria Stieg
Manufacture: Franz Wittmann K.G.
Solid ash and beech wood, belt-covered, tied steel springs
Boppard/Rhine, Germany, ca. 1836/1840
Veneers, partly laminated, bent, veneered walnut, woven cane
H 2967 / 1987, formerly Alexander von Vegesack Collection
ARMCHAIR COLONIAL CHAIR, MODEL NO. PJ 149
Solid rosewood, woven cane, leather upholstery
Vienna, ca. 1925
Solid mahogany, rungs of Spanish cane, black leather upholstery
The MAK is home to an extensive collection of furniture and woodwork, in light of which the artistic and stylistic tendencies of furniture historywith a focus on Austria and Viennacan be understood along with the cultural-historical and political developments of the past nearly 150 years. The collection encompasses over 4,600 objects ranging from small carvings and ornamental boxes to massive cabinets and whole room interiors.
The furniture art of the Baroque and Rococo eras, furniture from the Empire and Biedermeier periods, and Historicist and Art Nouveau furniture are the main focuses of this collection, with each period represented by outstanding examples.
Further highlights are Gothic and Renaissance furniture (on which collecting primarily focused back when the museum was founded), simple and practical utilitarian furniture from the period around 1900, an extraordinary collection of Viennese furniture from the interwar period which documents the years between 1918 and 1938 in an exceptional way, and contemporary furniture made since the 1960s. The MAK also owns an outstanding collection of courtly furniture from Austria and Vienna, as well as original and copied English furniture from around 1900.
The widely recognized collection of bentwood furniture and the unique collection of furniture and objects from the Wiener Werkstätte serve to document pivotal phases of design history.
The artistic highlights of the Furniture and Woodwork Collectionas well as the lions share of its most historically important objectsare presented in the MAK Permanent Collection according to criteria of stylistic history. The Historicism section of the Permanent Collection, for example, contains an overview of 100 years of Thonet furniture production, as well as that of competitors who shared the stage with Thonet between the 1830s and the 1930s. Particularly noteworthy items also include the elaborate and artfully worked cabinet made by David Roentgen (Neuwied am Rhein, 1776) for Prince Karl Alexander of Lorraine, general governor of the Austrian Netherlands, which is presented in the Baroque Rococo Classicism section of the Permanent Collection; this is regarded as a highlight of German artistic carpentry.
The varied typology of seating furniture from various eras is made visibly evident by the seating furniture displayed as part of the Study Collection: here, examples of differing or identical types, functions, degrees of development and materials are juxtaposed.
During the Second World War, the MAK lost a significant share of the Furniture and Woodwork Collections historic holdings, with nearly one third of the Furniture Collection destroyed due to the war. Additionally, the reorganization of Austrias museums during the late 1930s and early 1940s saw nearly all the wooden sculptures transferred to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and a large number of turn-of-the-century English and Austrian furniture pieces were also lost.
Following the wars conclusion, the museum made an intensive effort to rebuild the furniture department. New purchases were made with a particular eye to improving coverage of the Wiener Werkstätte and the interwar period. The Biedermeier, Historicism and Art Nouveau collections were also made complete, and the period since the 1980s has seen the acquisition of examples of more current items made since the 1960s. In the process, the collections organization shifted from a materials-based system to one oriented on typology: for a long time now, the collection has no longer been limited to objects made of wood; other materials now featured include steel tubing, plastics, cardboard and felt.
A new collecting focus is developing in the gray area between art, architecture and furniture design, an area which also plays a central role in the MAK Collection of Contemporary Art. Purchases of contemporary works by figures such as Donald Judd, Ron Arad, Tom Dixon and Jerszy Seymour serve to highlight new stances in experimental furniture design.
Permanent Collection Historicism Art Nouveau
Artistic intervention: Barbara Bloom
The Historicism and Art Nouveau Collection on permanent display includes an overview of a hundred years of Thonet furniture production. These and other timeless items of bent wood furniture manifest a creative approach that ingeniously exploits the properties of the material and points to new ways ahead for seating furniture.
With a unique artistic intervention Donald Judd managed to blend the different stylistic worlds of the Baroque, Rococo, Classicism and Minimalism. Taking on a central position here is the Porcelain Chamber from the Palais Dubsky in Brno, one of the first rooms ever designed in European porcelain.
This display draws on the MAKs extensive Furniture Collection to present a diverse typology of seating furniture. As a both visually appealing and didactic compilation covering numerous eras and styles, it also serves to shed light on the constantly changing, socially coded ways in which human beings deal with objects.