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Art Deco/Modernist box (Valencia, Spain, ca.1930)

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Art Deco2555 of 38921945 - 50 Smith Metal Arts "Moon Crest" Numechron, Model UnknownLarge Schneider "Jades" Art Deco Glass Vase
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Posted 4 years ago


(574 items)

This box does look like a mechanism from out of a steampunk movie... in fact, the first time I ever saw it, a box was the last think I could imagine. I guess its dirty surface does help in giving it that weird look too. It's true that a general surface cleaning must be done at once! If you look at the interior of the lid, you can see how the entire box should have looked when it was just made.

But in fact it simply is a box. And a very beautiful one (though a bit weird, ok).

These boxes were made in the Spanish city of Valencia. Those who have visited Spain will probably know Valencia from its amazing paella rice (not a big fan of it in my childhood myself, I have to face it now: when it's well cooked it's something to die for, and if you can't stand the pieces of children, rabbit , vegetables or sefood in it, you can order some variant such as the black rice or the fideuá.) or maybe you know the many long sandy beaches in the region. But Valencia is one of the traditionaly rich and culturally advanced cities in Spain, and has been so almost since Mediaeval times..

Prior to the 20th Century they had their fish, their oranges and many other vegetables, their silk, their furniture -Thonet chairs were made there under Thonet license- and their pottery, which made it a wealthy city. At the end of the 19th Century, that wealth was already generating some great cultural boom.

At the turn of the Century, Valencia surprised everybody with their very part icular version of Modernismo -the Spanish name for Art Nouveau- which didn't find inspiration in that of Barcelona's, but that of Vienna instead (and probably some from Italy too).

When Art Deco and Modernism arrived, Valencia was simply the top. They manufactured steel-tube furniture (and being a coastal city, the chrome-plate in this furniture didn't last long in perfect conditions, so even nowadays you can find a large number of chrome-plating workshops in Valencia); also their pottery industry adopted the look of the avant-gardes -will show you a couple of items from the time-; they even made stuff in the way they were doing in Europe, such as Hagenauer-look-alike figurines and so on... and what can I say about their art-deco streamline buidings! those are amazing too!

Later, in the 50s, when both Spain and Italy were recovering from their respective wars, Valencia took Italy as a model to follow and thus the creativity found in the city at the time is simmilar to that of Italy.


  1. SEAN68 SEAN68, 4 years ago
    Its beautiful!!
  2. AmberRose AmberRose, 4 years ago
    I totally agree with the steam punk idea but is also looks a bit like a mosque???
  3. AmberRose AmberRose, 4 years ago
    Oooo, what is that round Italian building??? Need more coffee!
  4. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    Well, Amber... maybe you're thinking of an electro-Mosque... ;)

    Thanks everybody for your loves and/or comments: czechman, walksoftly, Amber, Sean, DrFluffy, JayHow, miKKo, vet, aghcollect and jensen!!!
  5. getthatmonkeyoutofme getthatmonkeyoutofme, 4 years ago
    that's quite special...
    i should go to spanish fleamarkets next time...
  6. racer4four racer4four, 4 years ago
    Alex what material is this made out of? Interesting assembly but I love it - yes very steampunk!
    Thanks for the info on Valencia.
  7. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    Thanks racer and GTMOOM for your loves!

    I am not a big fan of Spanish fleamarkets... i am very sure there must be some decent one but as far as i can tell neither the Madrid one, El Rastro, or the one in Barcelona, Els Encants, are worth visiting if you expect to find treasures at great prices. It's so sad the antiques market here has become so posh and expensive. They probably were great in the past, where all this stuff was got, but not anymore... There's always the occasional great buy but that happens once in a blue moon :(
  8. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    racer... I am afraid I'll have to find out next time we go to "the other house", where it lives. Some kind of nickeled metal... but no silver at all i am afraid
  9. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    My guess is bakelite and nickel plated brass... but just a guess
  10. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    Thanks Jay! I think next time I have it on my hands i'll try and clean it and share the picture of the clean box... Carlos got angry at me for taking the pics of it being so dirty... :) If you like the look of the inside part of the lid, just imagine thw whole box looking like that: shiny and displaying the whole design...

    It's one of the most surprising items in his collection at the other house, and i can tell he's got an amazing amount of good stuff! :)
  11. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    thanks bratjdd and oz!
  12. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 4 years ago
    Thanks Moonstone and Manikin!!!
  13. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 3 years ago
    looks very memphis.

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