20th Century Europe: Black Forest Bear
Black Forest Bear - 20th Century Europe / Swiss
Carved Walnut, 47" x 20" x 17"
Antique Umbrella Stand
A very fine, carved walnut wood Black Forest umbrella stand in the form of a bear carved in round with an open mouth and inset glass eyes. Carved wooden linked chain attaches to the collar on bear's neck.The base is carved with an integral drip pan.
Black Forest Carving History
In the 1800’s the wood carving industry of Switzerland started in the town of Brienz. By the end of the 1800’s it had become the driving force for this industry. Swiss wood carvers became world renown and featured at many international exhibitions.
In Europe Black Forest carvings (wares) became a symbol of luxury and wealth. The finest pieces of Black Forest carving was often found in Royal collection and elite collector’s homes (usually Victorian world travelers).
During the 1800-1900’s popularity was also growing in many overseas markets. There was a high demand for these carving especially depicting American Wildlife.
The idea behind the marvelous success of Brienz wood carving was quite simple. After a disastrous famine in 1816 in the Brienz area people were forced to find new areas of revenues. Driven by the need to create jobs in the Bernese Oberland, an economically underdeveloped region, the Swiss government encouraged the existing resource of timber industry to liaise with the traditional wooden craftsmanship. It took some time to improve from home requirements to sophisticated designed arts but the process was supported by the rising amount of tourists visiting the region.
In 1884 the "School of Wood Carving, Brienz" was founded. It became an important educational institution to strengthen and develop the artistic backgrounds and exhibit an area of creativity. During the years of war in the 20th century the demand for wooden sculptures came to rest and led to the re-orientation in areas such as toys and carvings for constructions. Beyond that the Brienz wood carving articles had to face an enormous competition from abroad. The School of Wood Carving had to get through difficult economic times but in the late 1970s wood carving enjoyed a renaissance. A lot of young people searched for elemental jobs and added a new value to school education. Today Brienz School of Wood Carving is combined with the education of turner, basket makers and coopers. The school still claims high quality standards and follows old principles with regard to future perspectives.