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Swiss Carvings: "Black Forest" 1820-1940

Swiss Carvings: "Black Forest" 1820-1940


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Code article: 5373

Swiss Carvings:


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185 pages
over 250 color photos
Hard cover with dust jacket
29 x 23 cm
English

For many years 'Black Forest' carvings were thought to have been produced in the Bavarian Black Forest, in Germany, but it has now been established beyond all doubt that they were the sole province of the Swiss. The wood carving industry of Switzerland originated in the picturesque town of Brienz. From humble beginnings as a cottage industry in the early 1800s and grew by the turn of the twentieth century to become the industrial driving force of a whole community. By 1910 there were some thirteen hundred carvers plying their trade in the locality of Brienz. The carving industry was driven by the tourist industry; Brienz, Luzern, Interlaken and other such picturesque resorts were in vogue with the wealthy Victorians. Bears were particularly popular, being the symbol for the city or Berne, but musical boxes, musical chalets, furniture, lage and small, all figured in Swiss carving. The variety was immense, ranging from the religious, faithful reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper to the amusing and whimsical. Far from being 'mere whimsy', however, Swiss 'Black Forest' carvings were exhibited at the London Great Exhibition of 1851, Chicago 1893, Paris 1900 and at many of the other great international exhibitions of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Carved wooden bears, stags and other furniture and works of art from the Swiss 'Black Forest' carvers stood alongside such great exhibitors of the time as Tiffany, Gallé and Linke. 'Black Forest' carvings were appreciated as truly great works of art at the time of their creation and indeed enjoyed royal patronage. Today there has been a tremendous revival in interest for them and the best pieces are highly sought after.