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“The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank” is a travelling exhibition that comes to the American Swedish Institute from the classic Stockholm interiors firm, Svenskt Tenn, via the San Francisco Airport Museum and Nordic Heritage Museum. The exhibit combines textiles and furnishings designed by Josef Frank as well as didactic panels.
Austrian-born designer and architect Josef Frank (1885–1967) continues to be celebrated as a leading pioneer of Swedish Modern design, and many of Frank’s timeless textile designs and furnishings remain in production today. Estrid Ericson, who established Svenskt Tenn in the 1920s, was impressed by Frank’s work and asked him to design products for her store. The growing rise of Nazism in Vienna, coupled with the city’s economic depression, prompted Frank (who was Jewish) and his Swedish wife to move to Stockholm in 1933. After the German occupation of Denmark and Norway in 1940, the Franks decided to temporarily move to New York City, where Frank created his most innovative and substantial set of textile designs. After the war, the Franks returned to Stockholm where he produced further new furniture designs.