Jewel Box, designed by Dagobert Peche, made by Wiener Werkstatte, 1920, Vienna, gilded silver, Metropolitan Museum of Art.
This adorable jewellery box was made by Wiener Werkstatte (‘Vienna’s Workshops’), which was a community of visual artists working in Vienna. The workshop brought together architects, artists and designers whose priority was to design art which would be accessible for everyone. Dagobert Peche joined the Wiener Werkstatte in 1914, specialising in interior design and furniture. In the 1920s, Peche introduced a ‘spiky baroque’ style, inspired by folk-art.
I think the influence of folk-art is particularly clear here, demonstrated by Peche through the lithe body of the deer, and the delicate natural forms which add further embellishment. This is a much more playful design than the strict geometric designs which characterised the Wiener Werkstatte in the years before the First World War.
The Met describes this object as a ‘tour de force of artistic showmanship masquerading as functional design’.