Georg Mendelssohn (1886-1955) was a master metalworker, best known for his artistic brassworks in the early Twentieth Century. He was part of the Deutscher Werkbund, a progressive arts movement and predecessor to the Bauhaus School. His "primitive style" works (as they were called) fall within the greater Arts & Crafts Movement, called Jugendstil in German.
Georg was born in Tartu, Estonia (then called by it's old German name, Dorpat). His family was well-educated, successful and upper middle class. Though his family had some Jewish ancestry, he was baptized and raised Lutheran.
As a boy, he taught himself jewelry making. Shortly after the Turn-of-the-Century, while still in his teens, Georg moved to Italy where he helped found a Tuscan artists' colony like those recently opened in England, Germany and America. He moved to Germany in 1907 where he married and began raising a family.
Georg became associated with the Munich Arts & Crafts Group and began forging brassworks—which would quickly become his signature craft. He exhibited his work in the "Munich 1908" arts salon and later at the Brussels International Exhibition of 1910 (where he won the Grand Prix). Mendelssohn's spare design—utilizing heavy, hand-beaten brass with sophisticated hand-tooling—proved popular (and much imitated).
In 1933, Mendelssohn fled Germany for France. His progressive ideas (not to mention his partial Jewish heritage) made him a target for the Nazis. After the war, he settled in Nice. He died in 1955 while vacationing in the German Black Forest spa town of Baden-Baden, not far from the French border. He was buried in Paris.
The small but heavy brass tray, shown above, was made by Georg Mendelssohn in the 1910's or 1920's. It would comfortably hold four wine glasses or canapés, cheese or other nibbles. It is also beautifully-crafted and would look wonderful as a reflective accent piece on the wall. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248