"Exceptional Binding Painted By Reni Schaschl For The Wiener Werkstätte ."[WIENER WERKSTÄTTE]. [PAINTED BINDING].
[SCHASCHL (Reni)]. BOCCACE (Giovanni di). Das Leben Dantes. Leipzig, Insel Publishing, 1909.
In-4 (26 x 16.5 cm) of 73 pp. and (3) pp. - Hand-painted full parchment binding, the color scheme used to decorate the binding, ranging from black on the outer edges to ivory in the center and two different shades of gray, gives the impression of a triple frame, in the center, a laurel wreath represented in different shades of green is held by a pink ribbon, on the back cover is in the center a stylized bouquet of flowers of different colors, guards in gold paper printed with the Wiener Werkstätte, slice gilded, slipcase covered with glue paper also from Wiener Werkstätte (binding by Reni Schaschl, signed "Wiener Werkstätte" and "Reni Schaschl - 1919").
Provenance: Collection of Max Morgenstern - French private collection.
Exhibition: Grillparzenhaus Vienna (2015).
VERY IMPORTANT AND RARE BINDING OF THE WIENER WERKSTÄTTE PAINTED BY THE VIENNA ARTIST RENI SCHASCHL. IT WAS PART OF THE FAMOUS COLLECTION OF 23 BINDINGS SPONSORED AT WIENER WERKSTÄTTE BY MAX MORGENSTERN. IT WAS EXHIBITED AT THE GRILLPARZENHAUS IN VIENNA IN 2015.
In 1903, Josef Hoffmann (1870-1956) and Koloman Moser (1868-1918) founded the Wiener Werkstätte. Faced with industrial massification, this group of artists and craftsmen wanted, in the spirit of the Viennese Secession, to renew the applied arts by creating modern models with equal concern for the choice of materials and perfect technical achievement. . Renowned artists, such as Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka or Dagobert Peche, will produce, under the brand of this association, works in fields as varied as architecture, fashion, jewelry, goldsmith, furniture, or still editing and binding. From the beginning, Joseph Hoffmann, influenced by William Morris, gave a large part to the book. He is convinced that a "book is a whole" requiring the best papers, the most beautiful layouts and the most careful bindings. “The quality binding has completely disappeared. Broken back, stitching, sloppy edges, poor stitching and bad leather are now the rule. All we have now is a so-called original binding, a mass-produced cover that is extensively printed from clichés. The machine works diligently and fills our libraries with poor print quality books; its record lies in its cheapness. But any man of culture should be put off by this opulence, because on the one hand, this simplicity of manufacture implies a lower level of responsibility, and on the other hand, abundance is a source of futility (…). The whole book must be regarded as a work of art and evaluated as such ”(extract from the work program of the Wiener Werkstätte). In this spirit, he opened a bookbinding workshop which he directed to the bookbinder Carl Beitel (1866-1917). Hoffmann and Moser, as well as later Dagobert Peche and other artists provide the models which the workshop ensures the execution. The first exhibition of bindings by Hoffmann and Moser took place in Vienna in February 1905, at the Miethke gallery. The workshop will carry out two types of work: models reproduced in more or less large numbers intended for editions, and private orders, more ambitious and unique, like our binding specially ordered by the great Viennese collector Max Morgenstern. Max Morgenstern ordered no less than twenty-three bindings from the Wiener Werkstätte, thus forming one of the richest and most prestigious collections of this type of binding. Josef Hoffmann produced eighteen of the twenty-three bindings. Among the five remaining bindings only two present a painted decoration, that of Mathilde Flögl for the "Hundertdruck" and ours designed and produced by the artist Reni Schaschl for "Das Leben Dantes" (The Life of Dante) by Boccace. The dishes represent a laurel wreath triply framed in a gradient going from black to light gray painted with a great softness of tones. The color work of the entire binding is absolutely remarkable with its trompe l'oeil label on the back, the sublime gilded cover paper decorated with painted red floral patterns and the elegant glue paper from the case .
The twenty-three bindings produced by the Wiener Werkstätte for Max Morgenstern indeed represent one of the last great binding collections commissioned by great collectors. Many such collections, most of them established for members of the upper Jewish bourgeoisie, have since disappeared or were sold in the decades following World War II. Very nice copy remarkably preserved. The painted bindings of the Wiener Werkstätte, so unique in the production of the Viennese workshop, are extremely rare. Likewise, specimens whose sponsor is known to us are also very rare and particularly sought after.
Norbert Donhofer, Sammlung Max Morgenstern 2, 23 Einbände der Wiener Werkstätte für Max Morgenstern, 2015.