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- About Svenskt Tenn
Both Josef Frank and Estrid Ericson were fond of map prints, and maps as wall decorations appeared both in 1920s Vienna and in Estrid Ericson's early functional interiors. Josef Frank created a total of four different map prints during his years at Svenskt Tenn. Two of them, Världskarta (World Map) and Stockholmskarta (Stockholm Map), were designed in the 1930s while he drew the other two, Manhattan and Dixieland in 1943 – 1945 while living in New York.
Maps fascinated Estrid Ericson, and by decorating with them, she wanted to invite the world into her home. When she furnished her own home in the 1930s, she papered one of her walls with a large map.
During the same decade, she acquired small, American coasters with embroidered paintings depicting North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia. These coasters became the models for Josef Frank's six rectangular map images intended as placemats, where oceans, lakes and rivers are drawn in black, while the continents' land masses emerge in white.
Josef Frank and Estrid Ericson showed the prints for the first time in Svenskt Tenn's studio at the New York World's Fair in 1939.
During World War II and the years in New York, Josef Frank drew the now well-known Manhattan print. He also created a motif which is not as well-known as a map print, but which is nevertheless a depiction of geographical areas, namely Dixieland, as the American south is sometimes called.
In Manhattan, Josef Frank has portrayed a map of the island. Central Park and the northern tip of the island fit naturally into rectangles, where the street network in red and white balances against the winding walkways in the green park. One of the rectangles also shows Washington Bridge, Cloisters and Inwood Park.
It was here, in Park Terrace Gardens, not far from the northernmost part of Broadway, that Josef Frank lived together with his wife Anna. The southern tip and the central part around the intersection between Broadway and Sixth Avenue are instead depicted in circles, where the harbour piers are so strongly emphasized, that the contour almost become fuzzy.
In the Dixieland print, Josef Frank has depicted the Atlantic and surrounding continents – a global Dixieland where red Africa is filled with giant sunflowers and the vast Amazon is permeated by watermelons.