This silver dessert fork from the “Tulip” pattern, was designed by Henrich Vogeler in 1898-99, and produced by the firm of M. H. Wilkens & Söhn in Bremen, Germany. Vogeler’s Tulip pattern is one of the most graceful German flatware patterns of the Jugendstil period, and this particular piece shows the pattern well.
Vogeler, trained as a painter and architect, was a prolific designer of flatware and also produced graphic art, textile, and furniture design. In many of his flatware patterns he featured floral and avian motifs. For the Tulip service, Vogeler used the actual form of the flower, its leaves, and stalk to shape the individual items. Above a gently curving handle, the head of this fork rises like a flower blossom from a stem-like shaft encased in leaves. In the accompanying silver dessert knife, the transition from handle to blade is treated in an especially fluid, organic manner.
The Tulip pattern was commissioned by Alfred Walter Heymel, influential publisher of Die Insel (The Island) and remained in private production for several years. The interior of Heymel’s Munich apartment was designed by Vogeler and R. A. Schroeder. Vogeler provided dining room wall decoration, lighting fixtures, tables, and fruit bowls, as well as the Tulip flatware. Starting in 1901, the Tulip pattern was carried by the trendy Paris department store Maison Moderne, under the directorship of Julius Meyer-Graefe. By 1902 or 1903, Vogeler’s Tulip flatware came on the open market and was being offered in the Wilkens & Söhne company catalogue as pattern “No. 147.”