Friedrich Otto Schmidt, ‘Table’, ca. 1905, Phillips
Friedrich Otto Schmidt, ‘Table’, ca. 1905, Phillips

Property from a Private Collection, Manhattan

25 1/2 in. (64.8 cm) high, 33 3/4 in. (85.7 cm) diameter

Produced by Friedrich Otto Schmidt, Vienna, Austria. Tiles executed by Thonbrand Kunstwerkstätte Gebrüder Meinhold, Schweinsburg, Saxony.

Phillips would like to thank Claus Lorenz at Friedrich Otto Schmidt and Dr. Christian Witt-Dörring for their assistance cataloguing the present lot.

From the Catalogue:
“À la Loos”

Since 1853, the Viennese furniture company Friedrich Otto Schmidt has been designing and producing interiors and furniture to the highest manufacturing standards. The company excelled around the turn of the nineteenth century under the supervision of the brothers Max, Otto and Leo Schmidt. The brothers were closely associated with artists and architects of the time, including Adolf Loos, at whose wedding in 1902 Max and Leo served as witnesses.

The Schmidt brothers' forte was the optimization of the already existing, which resonated with Loos’s decorating philosophy, as he believed that once an object was created and solved a certain problem, reinventing it would be superfluous. Rather, the existing object could be copied, varied and improved endlessly.

Based on this philosophy, Loos would frequently use preexisting designs in his interiors, which were often produced, and in certain instances also designed by Friedrich Otto Schmidt, such as the present model table. Loos very much saw his role as an interior decorator and as an advisor to his clients, rather than the designer of individual objects. As such, to categorically attribute objects of his interiors to Loos is incorrect. As the company Friedrich Otto Schmidt put it, the furniture was designed “à la Loos."
Courtesy of Phillips

Signature: Underside of tiles with manufacturer's raised boar logo.

Heinrich Kulka, Adolf Loos, Vienna, 1979, figs. 240-41 for a similar example
Ralf Bock, Adolf Loos: Works and Projects, Milan, 2007, p. 57 for a similar example
Maria Szadkowska, Leslie Van Duzer, and Dagmar Černouškova, Adolf Loos--Works in the Czech Lands, Prague, 2009, p. 205, figs. 3-4 for a similar example