Richard Riemerschmid (1868-1957) is one of the greatest German designers of the twentieth century and the leading representative of the “functionalist” wing of the “Jugendstil”. Since 1900 he was one of the most sought-after designers for furniture and commodities. He was on of the founders of the „Vereinigten Werkstätten für Kunst im Handwerk“ (1897), a driving force in the „Deutschen Werkstätten“ in Dresden-Hellerau, founder and chairman of the „Deutschen Werkbund“ (1921-1926), head of the „Kunstgewerbeschule in München“ (1912–1924) and last but not least Professor and director of the Kölner Werkschulen (1926 to 1931).
For the „Deutschen Werkstätten“ he designed a small selection of objects made of tin, which were shown for the first time on the „Bayerische Gewerbeschau“ (1912). There, he received rave reviews in the trade press, specially of the “strict beauty” of the teasset. Compared with the otherwise pretentious designs in the old German style and to the popular “Kayserzinn” tending to silver, this four-part service was for a broad range of consumers highly modern.
In the sense of the German Werkbund Riemerschmids set with his ball or circular curves and in his smooth effects aimed quiet to the eigenvalue of tin.
In retrospect, this design can be called the most modern of its range. Peter Behrens teakettle for die AEG appears to Riemerschmid almost sedate. In this time only the Brit Christopher Dresser brought the courage for comparable pure forms.
The tin workshop of the „Deutschen Werkstätten“ was still in operation only until 1914. For this reason the service is extremely rare today. In 1915, it was demonstrated as “exemplary” in the „Deutsches Warenbuch“. And still on the first show after the First World War, in 1924, the German Werkbund could not acquire a second service to offer an example for the “form without ornament”.
The “pure” and naked, almost archetypal mature forms, appears as a anticipation to the evolving elementary-additive design idiom of the Bauhaus.
Lit. Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration XXXIV (1913), p.152; Jahrbuch des Deutschen Werkbundes 1914, p.105; Deutsches Warenbuch, ed. from Dürerbund-Werkbund-Genossenschaft 1915, p.131, M145-M148 ; Die Form ohne Ornament 1924, p.55.
Furthermore: Ausst.-Kat. Richard Riemerschmid, Münchner Stadtmuseum, München 1982, p.300, No. 347; Vom Sofakissen bis zu Städtebau 1993, p.289.
Shown in: Die Neue Sammlung Munich/Germany.
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