Lars Kinsarvik
Armchair

Armchair
Lars Kinsarvik
Armchair
Model presented at the 1900 Paris World Fair
Sculpted and painted wood
H. 95; W. 49.5 ; D. 55 cm
© Musée d'Orsay, dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Patrice Schmidt


Armchair

Fauteuil [Armchair]


This model of armchair designed Lars Kinsarvik, presented with a second model at the Paris World Fair in 1900 constitutes a beautiful example of what was called the "Dragon" or "Viking" style. Throughout the 19th century, determined to promote a national style that would demonstrate the specificity of their culture compared to that of Sweden – the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden was officially pronounced in 1905 -, Norwegian artists multiplied references to the national past of their country, from both the technical and formal points of view.

Lars Kinsarvik stood out as one of the champions of the renewal of the technique of painted wood, the quality and profound originality of which was highlighted by the historian Lorenz Dietrichson (1834-1917), whether it be demonstrated in the animal heads of Viking boats or in the low-reliefs of mediaeval churches. Mingling history and popular culture, the cabinetmaker, who mostly worked on commissions, in particular for the complete decoration of public houses and hotels, imagined simple and robust forms constituting a favourable support for the development of sculpture.
The elements that compose the structure of this armchair – uprights and crosspieces of the back, armrests, diagonals of the base – are literally turned into totems and low-reliefs from which a whole world of legend comes to life: figures of witches and masks alternate with spirals and foliation in a polychromy that was probably more vivid than it is now, based on green and yellow tones punctuated here and there with yellow and blue touches.




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