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“Mirakel” (Miracle) is one of Josef Frank's earliest prints, created during the latter half of the 1920s. It is adorned with large-scale fantasy flowers, winding lianas and a sea of dots. Josef Frank himself allegedly said that it feels like a miracle that such a small repeat could give rise to something so magnificent.
Mirakel in a pattern collection from Haus & Garten.
After the end of the First World War and throughout the 1920s, Josef Frank composes several prints, strongly influenced by the pattern innovator William Morris. In 1925, he establishes the interior design company Haus und Garten together with his architect colleagues Oskar Wlach and Walther Sobotka, which proved a success both artistically and commercially. In his pattern designs during this period, Josef Frank is influenced by a variety of oriental, English and French cretons, and he pays particular attention to Morris' words:
“Don’t copy any style at all, but make your own. Yet you must study the history of your art or you will be taught by bad copyists of it that you come across…”
Mirakel Black, Josef Frank, 1920-talet
Cray, William Morris, 1884
Mirakel is one of the prints created during this time, and it is also one of those most inspired by William Morris' pattern composition. The fantasy flowers give Mirakel an oriental expression and the limes are framed by winding lianas, blue shimmering vines and a cavalcade of small dots scattered all over the print. Despite many similarities with William Morris, a major difference is that Mirakel is characterised by its liveliness and vitality rather than the quiet wonder that is often evoked by Morris' designs.
The textile's repeat - From Josef Frank's Textile Designs by Kristina Wängberg-Eriksson
“Mirakel’s pattern surface is composed primarily of standing rectangles, about twice as high as they are wide. The content of each such rectangle is in turn symmetrical. By rotating half a turn, you make the lower part coincide with the upper. This means that the repeat, the smallest part by which a repetition forms the whole pattern, is the size of half a rectangle.”