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Art Nouveau Mantel Clock, Dagobert Peche

Jugendstil-Kommodenuhr Dagobert Peche


Vienna, around 1920/22

carved and gilt lime wood lush carving, partly vegetal, partly geometrical in the distinctive manner of Dagobert Peche, case drum made of gilt metal
chased and gilt metal
Gustav Becker movement (Freiburg Clock Manufactory), duration of one week
15 ¾ in

“Not even every hundred years, only once every three hundred years is such a genius born in a country. Dagobert Peche was Austria’s greatest genius of ornamentation since the Baroque period.” Josef Hoffmann, 1923

Even his contemporaries celebrated the designer, graphic artist, and architect Dagobert Peche as one of the most gifted talents of Viennese Art Nouveau. His designs are tremendously imaginative and varied, yet unmistakable nonetheless. Born in 1887 in Sankt Michael im Lungau (Salzburg), Peche studied architecture at the Technical University and Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. In 1915 he became a member of the Wiener Werkstätte (Viennese Workshops), and in 1917/18 he led their Zürich branch. The works from Dagobert Peche’s intensive but brief creative period (he died at the age of just 36) are of great importance for the global reputation of Austrian craftsmanship around 1900.

This mantel clock was fabricated by the prestigious, multiple award-winning Max Welz manufactory (Grand Prix at the World Exhibition in 1925, 1929, etc.), which worked closely with the Wiener Werkstätte and implemented numerous designs by Peche. Based on its ornamentation, the design for this timepiece is also attributed to Dagobert Peche. For example we find this diagonally serrated decorative trim on the base repeated in Peche’s brass flower vase for the Wiener Werkstätte (model number M3265). The voluminous foliage, on the other hand, is a distinctive trademark of his and is very prominent in Peche’s mirrors and frames for the Welz company.

This magnificent mantel clock is an outstanding example of the cooperation between the great designer Dagobert Peche and the Viennese craftsmen of the Welz manufactory, who worked at the highest level of their trade, and exemplifies the Viennese Art Nouveau’s attitude toward art as a force that penetrates all areas of life.

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