Click main image below to view enlargements and captions.

Design, Flower Composition, Anton Seder, The Plant in Art, Antique Prints, Austria, 1890

Anton Seder, Birkinger, Franz Patek, D. Doepler, H. Kaufmann Munchen, E. Unger, Jurzubrich, W. Schulmeister, et al. (after)
A. Göhre, E. Beck, M. Strercher, W. Greve, et al. (lithograph artists)
Johann Haupt, Anton Hartinger & Sohn, Obpacher, J. Lowy, August Pries, F. Bruckmann, W. Greve, Ernest Matthuy, Friedrich Jasper, et al. (printers)
Art Nouveau Designs with Plant Motifs
from Die Pflanze in Kunst und Gewerbe
[The Plant in Art and Trade]

Gerlach & Schenk, Vienna: 1890
Chromolithographs some heightened in gold or silver, some heliogravures
15.75 x 10.75 inches, image
21.5 x 14.5 inches, overall
$450 to $550 each

This set of prints incorporates botanical imagery into innovative, elaborate, Art Nouveau designs, some as still life compositions, while others are highly stylized. They include designs for decorative arts objects, such as vases, chandeliers, gates and furniture. Birds, snails, small reptiles, women and cherubic children are variously incorporated into some of the compositions. They range from deep, rich colors –some with the addition of gold or silver — to more simple two tones compositions such as a light sepia or green.

Product description continues below.


The sinuous lines and incorporation of naturalistic motifs are typical of Art Nouveau. Nonetheless, other Victorian stylistic influences are also apparent, including Renaissance revival in the use of garlands of fruit, and Aesthetic Movement taste in the use of ferns, a wildly popular Victorian motif. The prints are based on the work of various artists, but most were apparently designed by Anton Seder, and bear his distinctive A.S. monogram, sometimes incorporated into the design.

Anton Seder, a painter from Munich, was the first director of the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (College of Decorative Arts), founded in 1890 by the city of Strasbourg as part of a plan for the artistic revival of the region. He remained as director until 1920 and also designed the decorative facade of the school’s building. Seder co-edited the magazine Das Kunstgewerbe in Elsass-Lothringen [The Arts and Crafts in Alsace-Lorraine]. Strasbourg had been ceded by France to Germany in 1871, and was returned to France in 1918. Therefore, the cultural environment was a mixture of French and German influences. His best known works are Die Pflanze in Kunst und Gewerbe [The Plant in Art and Trade] (Gerlach & Schenk, Vienna: 1890), which incorporated plants into decorative motifs, and Das Thier In Der Decorativen Kunst [Animals in Decorative Art] (Gerlach & Schenk, Vienna: 1896-98), similarly incorporating animals and mythical dragons into decorative motifs.

The Gorham Manufacturing Co. of Providence, Rhode Island, had a copy of Seder’s Das Thier in its library, and produced a silver pitcher in 1900 embellished with a dragon directly inspired by Seder’s title page. Indeed, collections of prints like Das Thier were popular at the turn of the century, providing source material for designers of fabrics, wallpaper, ceramics, book illustrations, posters, and advertisements. The leading Victorian publication of this type was Owen Jones’s Grammar of Ornament, first issued in a folio edition in London in 1856. Other trendsetting styles in art, design, decoration and fashion came from Paris. The best know are probably the works by Émile-Alain Séguy incorporating butterfly and insect motifs, and those by Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919), a professor of zoology, at the University of Jena, Germany. Haeckel’s scientific illustrations depicted aquatic organisms such as radiolarians, jellyfish, sea urchins and so forth in flowing, aesthetically striking compositions, such as were included in his work Kunstformen der Natur [Art Forms in Nature] (1899-1904). Other prolific publishers of this type of work were Armand Guérinet and Arsène Herbinier. Closely related to Seder’s renditions of aquatic motifs were the designs of Emile Belet.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual light overall toning, handling, soft creases, wear. Some sheets vary in overall paper tone, probably will not be evident with proper matting.


Breidbach, Olaf, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt and Richard Hartmann. Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel. New York: Prestel, 1998.

Derville, Frank. “Ecole Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs.” Art Nouveau World Wide. 1993-2004. (25 February 2005).

“Gorham Manufactoring Co.: A Martele Dragon Pitcher.” The British Antique Dealers’ Association. (5 July 2005).

Additional information


19th Century