Bruno Paul
German, 1874 - 1968
Vereinigte Werkstätte für Kunst und Handwerk, manufacturer
Samovar, 1904

H. 11 1/2 x Dia. 15 1/4 (with tray) in.

A work clearly ahead of its time, this samovar is a courageous declaration of modernism. It anticipates by fifteen years both the spirit and ideals of the German Bauhaus movement. Its clean lines, mechanistic detailing (particularly the neck) and implied disdain of decoration result in a work of exceptional strength, an early essay in functionalism.

In 1900 Bruno Paul's work still followed a restrained version of German Art Nouveau (Jugendstil), giving little indication of what was shortly to erupt in his work. Inspired by the writings of Hermann Muthesius, and encouraged by his new appointment as director of the Berlin Art School, Paul quickly became a champion of industry combining quality craftsmanship with new machine technology. Both he and Peter Behrens were instrumental in forging successful collaborations between designers and industry and, as such, were key progenitors of Bauhaus design.