Freud Dresser

When modernism goes bad
Circa 1936
Ernst Ludwig Freud
Nationality of Designer
Rosewood Veneer
Length 343 cm x Height 98 cm
Purchase Price


Built in side-board


Example in the Freud Museum, purchased on eBay by Adam Sutherland


None- Grubby Chic condition - chips to the veneers.

Why it's in the Collection

The cabinet is an excellent example of 1930s modernist design, functional with simple lines and Art Deco undercurrents. There is an identical example in the Freud Museum, however we think this piece came out of Belvedere Court and probably wasn't designed for a psychoanalysts room, it has more of the Bertie Wooster about it. Alongside the Bauhaus refugees Freud brought some European modernist influence to North London at a time when all things German were perhaps not wholly welcome. As Freud's son and Lucian's father he is - and this piece of furniture represents - a kind of bridge between pre war and contemporary, the shift from a belief in progress to a loss of ideals and ambition. Lucian's classic painting representing a rather traditional take on art focused on the romantic, post war 'life is shit' vibe, a rejection of the modern.

'My mother was painted by Freud in the 50's, he kept trying to get her to disrobe, she's never quite recovered' Adam Sutherland.

About the Designer/Maker

Ernst Ludwig Freud (1892- 1970) was a German- Austrian architect/interior designer and youngest son of Austrian psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud.

Interior design was important for modernist architects like Ernst Freud. This is shown in his attention to details of fittings and furniture. He claimed to have been the first architect to have designed psychoanalysts' consulting rooms.

Ernst Freud established his practice in Berlin in 1920 where a large number of his clients were Doctors. The majority of his commissions were for houses and consulting rooms and he worked in an Art Deco style but by 1930 had begun to work in a modern style showing the influence of Mies Van der Rohne. Examples of this include a Cigarette Factory in Berlin and a house and consulting room for Dr. Frank in Potsdam.

In 1933, with the rise to power of the Nazis, Ernst Freud left Berlin for London where he settled in St. Johns Wood. He secured a number of commissions for private houses block of flats around Hampstead including the notable Belvedere Court, Lyttelton Road and a consulting room for Melanie Klein. In 1938 his father Sigmund and younger sister Anna Freud joined Ernst in London and moved into a house in Hampstead that Ernst remodelled including the creation of a glazed garden room. The house today is the Freud Museum.

Ernst Ludwig Freud had three children, Stephen Gabriel Freud, the politician and broadcaster Clement Freud and the painter Lucian Freud.

Bibliography & Further information

Freud Museum