In Germany, the Art Nouveau movement was called Jugendstil—roughly translated, "The Young Style." Like its sister movements in other parts of the world, Jugendstil was a departure from the prevailing design-style of the day. It sought a return to simple materials and honest hand-workmanship. Additionally, there was an inclination to incorporate organic and naturalistic elements into the design—animals, plants, raw natural materials and spontaneous glazes.
The various worldwide Art Nouveau movements frequently incorporated into their work the Ancient or Medieval design themes of their homelands. In England, designers revived Medieval chivalric tales and characters. In America, designers employed Native American decorative elements. And, in the case of the German wrought iron candle sconce, shown above, the designer features a brass seagoing vessel which appears to be a Viking Ship. To be clear, historians tell us that the German people are not descended from the Vikings—and any attempt to argue otherwise is misguided and misleading (though the Germans would not be the only people these days to falsely boast Viking ancestry). But the Vikings did cross the Baltic, coming to Germany, presumably to raid or trade. The Vikings, when they did settle elsewhere, did so in Ireland and Britain. As for Germany, they were just passing through.
In 2019, a perfectly preserved (80' x 13') Viking ship was found in 10 feet of silted water in the port of Wismar, along Germany's Northern (Baltic) coast. The muscular ship, crafted entirely with axes and adzes, was beautifully built, perfect for carrying very heavy loads: timber, stone, and beer. Researchers tell us that the ship was built in 1188 of wood harvested in Western Sweden. Its crew of 8 to 12 men would sail across the Baltic, transporting heavy loads in both directions.
This wrought iron candle sconce, made by Hugo Berger ("Goberg") in the 1910's, features a handsome brass ship in the center. Please 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