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 it 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 of Berne, but musical boxes, musical chalets, furniture large 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, furniture and works of art from the Swiss 'Black Forest' carvers stood alongside such great exhibitors of the time as Tiffany, Galle 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 and the best pieces are highly sought after.
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(285mm x 225mm x 22mm)
ACC Art Books
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Author Biography - Jay Arenski
Jay Arenski is the current proprietor of Arenski Fine Art Ltd. His gallery, which he shared with the flamboyant dealer Peter Petrou, in Notting Hill, London, was well known for its eclectic mix of antiques from neolithic Chinese pots to classical statuary. Jay's love of 'Black Forest' is well established. The Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fair has twice in recent years been treated to a 'Black Forest' look with an amazing stand from Arenski and Petrou. Jay is married with three children and lives in London. Simon Daniels, a second-generation antique dealer, is a world recognised authority on 'Black Forest' and was the first dealer in the USA to dedicate his gallery almost exclusively to it. He feels that 'Black Forest' carvings are unique in that they encompass the great outdoors, compassion for animals, mountain life and, most importantly, humour. Simon lives and works in Aspen, Colorado. Many of his favourite pieces can be found at his gallery, Daniels Antiques. Michael Daniels is one of three brothers who started in business together in 1969. In 1978 they established the well-known showrooms of Daniels, Daniels and Daniels Antiques in South Florida, but after twenty-two years there he decided to indulge his passion for 'Black Forest' carvings and when his son Simon Daniels opened the Aspen Gallery in 1998 Michael followed a year later. They are both justifiably proud of the world class collection of 'Black Forest' antiques that they have assembled from all over the world in their Aspen Gallery.