Rarities from the Barcelona Exposition 1929 by Axel Einar Hjorth
Axel Einar Hjorth
– rarities from the Barcelona Exposition 1929
The 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, officially in Spanish: Exposición Internacional de Barcelona 1929, it took place from 20 May 1929 to 15 January 1930 in Barcelona, Spain. The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, designed by Carles Buïgas was built ahead of the exhibition and is still today a landmark for Barcelona.
The Swedish Pavillion was designed by Peder Clason and most remarkable was probably the tower, symbolizing a lighthouse, ”Funkis” standing outside the Pavillion. The Barcelona Exhibition was the first major exhibition for Axel Einar Hjorth as the head of the Nordiska Kompaniet furniture department.
› The seat upholstered with grey velvet, maker's metal label. Length 82 cm, width 37 cm, height 50 cm.
The tabouret is one of a pair ordered and executed for Barcelona in 1929. The rest of the Hjorth pieces in the same furnishing were the models named ’Caesar’ and ’Louis’. The drawing for the pair of tabourets does not have a name attached. Stylistically the tabouret seems more related to the ’Louis’ pieces, the ’Caesar’ pieces are more classical, with carved sphinxes. The base of the tabouret has a similar base as seen on other pieces by Hjorth, such as on the sideboard ’Stål’, the cabinet in pine ’Lovö’ and on the cabinet ’Borgen’ from the 1930 Stockholm Exhibition.
› The exhibition in Barcelona. From Axel Einar Hjorth: möblerarkitekt by Christian Björk, Thomas Ekström & Eric Ericson, Signum, Stockholm, 2009, p. 72-85.
The Nordiska Kompaniet’s exhibition area, also designed by Hjorth seems to have been remarkable with its deep blueish grey walls, black floorings where the spectacular pieces of furniture in black, and grey, red and gold created impressive effects. The cabinet ’Louis’ was included in the Swedish Pavillion in Barcelona. Louis was sold by Bukowskis in April 2002 for SEK 1,150,000, a record price for a 20thC Swedish piece of furniture that it took almost 20 years to beat.
› Macassar ebony, borders with stylized relief decoration, four drawers with silver-plated handles, maker's metal label. 80 x 42 cm, height 80 cm.
The present pieces disappeared from the public eye post the exhibition. The magnificent tabouret which is to be seen in the blurred photographs from the exhibition was rediscovered not too long ago at a smaller market in Barcelona. The tabouret has few similarities to other pieces by Hjorth. He managed to blend the Swedish classicism with French Art Déco and turn it into a unique solitary piece of furniture.
This applies also to the Macassar-ebony veneered chest of drawers, it has a solemn appearance highlighted with the discreet wood carvings and its silver-plated handles. The chest of drawers has only been seen in a black and white photograph and as a pencil drawing from the archives. How it came to the Myrdal family is yet to be discovered.
Viewing May 12th – 16th, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Auction Live May 17th – 18th, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm