Kiev 1894 – 1965 Stevenage, England
Tea and coffee set with tray for Anna Sophie and Fritz Block. 1927
Silver, embossed, pressed, polished; ebony. 29 cm / 12 cm / 19 cm / 8,5 × 56 × 30 cm. (11 ⅜ in. / 4 ¾ in. / 7 ½ in. / 3 ⅜ × 22 × 11 ¾ in.) Master's mark: serrated semicircular with point / fineness mark: 800 / imperial stamp: half moon, crown. Total weight: 4.579 g. Without milk can. 
ProvenanceAnna Sophie (1895–1986) and Fritz Block (1889–1955), Hamburg, from 1938 Los Angeles / Private Collection, Sweden (by descent)
EUR 180.000 – 240.000
USD 202,000 – 270,000
225,000 EUR (incl. premium)
Exhibitionballmer. zeichnungen graphik. slutzky. gerät schmuck. Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Juni 1931 (without catalogue) / Ein Bauhauskünstler in Hamburg. Naum Slutzky. 1894–1965. Hamburg, Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, 1995, p. 18, ill. 24, cat.-no. 42, p. 62, ill. p. 37 (text by Rüdiger Joppien)
Literature and IllustrationArbeiten aus der modernen Kunstschule Johannes Itten, Berlin. In: Die Baugilde, vol. 10, no. 7, 10. April 1928, no. 7, p. 475–477, ill. Sp. 477 (tea pot without heat protection) / Monika Rudolph: Naum Slutzky. Meister am Bauhaus. Goldschmied und Designer. Stuttgart, 1990, cat.-no. 2, p. 171 / exh. cat.: Die Metallwerkstatt am Bauhaus. Berlin, Bauhaus-Archiv, 1992, exh. cat. 270, p. 268
Spheres, cylinders, rectangles, right angles, and circles. This is what a Bauhaus silver service looks like for an architect. Fritz Block, one of Hamburg's leading architects at the time, commissioned the Bauhaus style service of 1927, which was a bourgeois service in terms of material and style. Naum Slutzky created an architectural gem in silver with the tower-like coffee pot and the spherical teapot reminiscent of revolutionary architecture. His tray features a transverse rectangular platform that floats slightly above the ground. The spouts of the jugs are funnel-shaped, tapering towards the front. The handles lead a geometric life of their own, with expressionistic elements. Slutzky was not a trained silversmith, but he had come into contact with carcase goods in the metal workshop of the Bauhaus. The geometric tendency of the moulded parts also finds its origins in manufacturing technology. The people at Bauhaus used the pressing and assembly of silver sheets to produce vessels quickly and efficiently, as Slutzky did with our service.
In Slutzky's oeuvre, the service is a solitaire. A multi-part coffee and tea set could have been outdated by the time of New Objectivity. However, Bauhaus metal artists such as Christian Dell, Marianne Brandt (lot 313), Otto Rittweger, and Wolfgang Tümpel still provided complete services in the 1920s. Emmy Roth, Paula Straus (lot 325), and Peter Behrens continued to make them in the early 1930s.
Block had stumbled upon Slutzky as early as 1926, when he developed a lighting fixture. In 1927, Slutzky was commissioned, although he had no great experience in the field of silver plating. Elements of Block’s architectural ideas could be hidden within the service. Shortly afterwards, Slutzky generated a jug mould from the commission, which he then produced several times. In March 1928, for example, he exhibited a teapot that repeated the Block shape but had a rounded handle and was made of matt nickel silver. This pot soon became "cult" among Hamburg's architects, because Karl Schneider, Robert Friedmann, Fritz Schleifer, or Herbert Sprotte owned it. Because of that, Block's service became groundbreaking for Slutzky’s further development.
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