Object Lesson


Dagobert Peche's Small Giltwood Mirror

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This circa 1922 mirror was designed by Dagobert Peche and fabricated by craftsman Max Welz for the Wiener Werkstätte. Courtesy H.M. Luther.


Few design exhibitions have opened my eyes more widely than the Neue Galerie’s 2002 show “Dagobert Peche and the Wiener Werkstätte.” And no single work in the show opened my eyes more than this small giltwood mirror, measuring 19 ½ by 18 ½ inches and made sometime around 1922. Compared to titans of Austrian design such as Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos, Peche has earned little of history’s attention—too little. Hoffmann himself described Peche as “the greatest ornamental genius Austria has produced since the Baroque.” The mirror, or a period duplicate, is currently on sale at H.M. Luther, a dealer in New York City’s Carlyle Hotel. If I had $50,000-plus to spare, it’d be hanging on my own wall.





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About the Blogger

Ned Cramer

thumbnail image Ned Cramer is editor-in-chief of ARCHITECT, and editorial director of ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING, ECO-STRUCTURE, and METALMAG, published by Hanley Wood, a Washington, D.C.-based business media company. Prior to joining Hanley Wood, Cramer served as the first full-time curator of the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), where he organized public programs and exhibitions such as "A Century of Progress: Chicago's 1933-34 World's Fair" and "New Federal Architecture: The Face of a Nation." At CAF, projects under Cramer's direction received support from foundations and corporations such as Altria, Boeing, the Driehaus Foundation, the Graham Foundation, and the McCormick-Tribune Foundation. He speaks regularly on architecture, design, and related issues. The Avery Architectural Index lists nearly 100 articles with Cramer's byline, many written in his former capacity as executive editor of Architecture magazine. The recipient of an Arts Administration Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cramer has held positions at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., and the Menil Collection in Houston. Cramer is an alumnus of the Rice University School of Architecture. He was born and raised in St. Louis.