Josef Frank (1885-1967) was an architect, industrial and interior designer noted for the contrast between the functionality of his forms and the extreme colour and free flowing nature of his textile designs.
In regard to objects that have a utility and a purpose such as furniture his designs are relatively austere preferring function to ornamentation. Materials commonly used are wood, leather and textile. Interestingly cheap industrial materials such as plastic and steel are rarely featured preferring a naturalistic approach. It has been said Frank represents a humane modernism. Reference to nature is explored more fully in the imagery of his textile prints.
Textiles, which comparatively serve a limited function, are kaleidoscopic free flowing arrangements that employ multiple bright colours and are often made up of highly illustrative compositions of flora and fauna. Frank has stated his departure from the refinement and rigidity of his other work owes to the necessity of beauty in the human living space. Interpreted amongst his body of work it could be said to serve aesthetic function. Patterns are repeated over a large area distinguishing themselves from smaller geometric repetitious grid like patterns.
He interprets the work of Expressionist artists that would have been his contemporaries such as Matisse, Kandinksky, Klee and Gauguin which he appropriates into textile prints. Frank’s prints still prove popular today as a source of inspiration for designers and many are still available for purchase through the design house Scandinavian Design.