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Josef Frank (1885-1967)

”Plan de Paris à vol d’oiseau”

To be sold at Uppsala Auktionskammare’s Important Sale: Modern & Contemporary 18 – 20 May 2022

Lot 208 A rare Josef Frank ”Plan de Paris à vol d’oiseau” oak cabinet, Firma Svenskt Tenn ca. 1937-43. Length 97, Width 44, Height 150 cm.

Covered with Georges Peltier’s bird’s eye view map of Paris first published in 1920.


1.500.000 – 2.000.000 SEK
€ 144.000 – 192.000

A drawing of this model is preserved at the Svenskt Tenn archive in Stockholm. The model was likely made to order as a few examples were made in the years 1937-43.

Uppsala Auktionskammare would like to thank the Svenskt Tenn archive for their help in cataloguing the present cabinet.

In context

Josef Frank’s iconic cabinet “Plan de Paris à vol d’oiseau”

When Austrian-born Josef Frank began his collaboration with Estrid Ericson and Svenskt Tenn in 1934, he was already established as one of the leading architects and furniture designers of his generation. Equally appreciated and debated, he was a committed modernist who played by his own rules.

Predecessors to the present cabinet can be traced back to Frank’s years with Haus und Garten in Vienna in the early 1930s, where examples of cherry cabinets clad with flowery textiles can be found. A few years after Frank’s arrival in Sweden, Estrid Ericson brought him the idea of covering furniture with decorative posters in a similar manner, inspired by the hand-colored engravings that adorn the walls in famous botanist Carl von Linné’s summer home. Frank designed the iconic Flora cabinet in 1937, which was decorated with Johan Wilhelm Palmstruch’s floral posters. Creativity gained momentum and various cabinet models were clad in all sorts of materials during the 1930s and 1940s – including leather, chintz fabrics and maps. In 1939, Frank exhibited at the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco with an interior crowned by a Flora cabinet, all met with great acclaim and further cementing Frank’s position as a leading modernist.


In the present rare cabinet, Frank made use of French cartographer Georges Peltier’s bird’s eye view map of Paris first published in 1920. Peltier spent decades working on this highly detailed overview of the city in which anyone who has ever strolled the streets of Paris can reminisce about times past. A drawing of this cabinet is preserved at the Svenskt Tenn archive in Stockholm and the model was likely made to order as a few editions seems to have been made in the years 1937-43. Designed and executed during a time in which everyday life in Stockholm was affected by the political development in Europe, and as similar cabinets were made with maps of other European cities such as London, one can imagine Frank creating these as a reminder of days before persecution and war, when Europe was open and accessible.

None other has had a greater influence on the modern furniture and interior design movement nicknamed Swedish Modern by the Americans already in the 1930s, which with its sober playfulness claims its uniqueness in international contexts – than the Austrian Josef Frank. The various decorated cabinets Frank designed for Svenskt Tenn, of which the present cabinet is one of his foremost, have in many ways come to define his contributions to the field.

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Erik Ingare


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