A lady's salon including the writing desk shown here was commissioned in 1904 immediately after the Darmstadt Artists' Colony Exhibition of that year, by Mathilde Kessler (1849-1914), a member of the Karcher industrialist family who were part-owners of the Saar Steelworks Dingler, Karcher & Co. in Saarbrücken and Worms. The Salon was a wedding present to her daughter Mathilde and son-in-law, Rudolf Kleinjung (1872-1943), a state lawyer. They set up their home in Bensheim, near Darmstadt. The furniture remained in the house, Ernst-Ludwigstrasse 33, until 1941 and was subsequently inherited by their daughter Hildegard (1910-1995), who left it to one of her sons. It was auctioned off to the present owner in 2007.
The desk is an excellent example of early German modernism where the jugendstil elements have been limited to the two intarsia panels on either side of the front.