Eduard Van Steenbergen Painted Wood Bookcase
Possibly in collaboration with Jozef Peeters, circa 1923
Height 6 feet 6 3/4 inches, width 7 feet 5 1/4 inches, depth 19 1/4 inches.
Made for Mr. Achiel Noeminckx, Antwerp
Thence to his nephew Dr. L. Nolwinckx
Private sale, 1989
Belgian architect Eduard Van Steenbergen (1889-1952) was known for his modern architectural and interior designs. He attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and started his own architectural practice in Berchem, Belgium in 1921. Often working in the Art Deco style, Van Steenbergen designed interior decorations including leaded glass windows, panels, carpets, floor tiles, wardrobes, tapestries, lighting and other furnishings. A limited number of extant archival designs show his use of bright colors and geometric shapes in interior designs.
Van Steenbergen was a member of the "Kring Moderne Kunst" or Modern Art Circle, which was founded by artist Jozef Peeters (1895-1960) along with other members of the Academy in September 1918 in Antwerp. As a pioneer of abstract art in Belgium, Peeters worked as a painter, linotype cutter, poster and textile designer, and also painted decorative objects and furniture. The goal of the Modern Art Circle was to spread new trends and increase awareness and knowledge of new artistic developments. The group also organized several Congresses for Modern Art with accompanying exhibitions in the early 1920s. Peeters advocated for avant-garde ideals and "gemeenschapskunt" or communitarian art.
Peeter's designs are recognizable for their extensive color palette and dynamic shapes such as those in the painted and carved gesso of this suite of furniture. His use of lively triangles, circles and broad colors distinguish him from his contemporaries in the De Stijl movement.
In Eduard Van Steenbergen: bouwmeester en binnenhuiskunstenaar, by Victor van den Berge and Henry van de Velde, 1955, commissions of Van Steenbergen's work are cited by year. Listed under 1923, p. 46, is "studiomeubilering" or studio furnishings commissioned by a client named Noe[m]inckx. Based on Van Steenbergen and Peeters' friendship in the Modern Art Circle and Peeters geometric designs, it is possible that the painted gesso decororation was designed by Peeters for Van Steenbergen's suite of furniture.
C A Private Collection of Important Design
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