Koloman Moser, (left) 'Scylla'

Koloman Moser, (left) 'Scylla'

Koloman Moser (1868 - 1918)
'Scylla' (left) Textile design
Austria
1901
Colour lithograph
Museum no. E.74-1978.

'Frau Nolda' (right)
Textile design
Austria
1901
Colour lithograph
Museum no. E.73-1978

The Images
These printed patterns form part of a series called Die Quelle (The Source). The 'source', Moser's inspiration, was nature. The two patterns shown here are derived from plant forms, but they can hardly be called lifelike.

Moser has used the forms of nature as the basis for a precise, almost mathematical pattern. The designs predict the geometric fantasies of M.C. Escher in the 1940s in the way they use recognisable images to create a repetitive pattern.

'Scylla' and 'Frau Nolda' are designed for printing onto textiles for use as wall hangings. A network of lines printed beneath the design cleverly suggests the texture of the material. The richly inventive lettering panels show a similar attention to detail. This level of dedication is striking. It shows that Moser must have thought of these designs as a major piece of work.

For Moser, design of this sort was not just a way to earn money. It was a skilled art form that deserved as much respect as painting or architecture. Moser was one of the most versatile and prolific designers of his age. He made work of equally high quality in many different forms, designing everything from posters to postage stamps and from interiors to cutlery.

These designs can be found in Prints and Drawings Study Room box TOPIC 1a.