Thursday, December 25, 2008

Loetz, Part II of a Two-Part Article

Loetz glass was now exported and exhibited across the world. Bakalowitz & Sohn were their distributers in Vienna, F. Kraska & Co. in London, Salon Diespeker in Paris, Ludwig Frenkel in Berlin, and Ernst Cordes in Hamburg. They began to develop even more varied techniques. 'Octopus' is sensational. It consists of a glass with an air-trap design and a casing probably in clear glass, and is finely gilded in a continuous wriggle of gold. In 1893, they produced 'Columbia' glass for the World Fair in Chicago. This was an iridescent Venetian style glass with applied medallions of Columbus. The famous 'Papillon' glass in 1899, was an iridescent glass with a concentrated and random spotted effect, often in blue, red or gold. 'Phanomenon' was also iridescent, but this time consisted of fine and concentrated trails of glass embedded into the surface. In 1901 Loetz did a series of shells in the Phanomenon decoration. 'Rusticana' was slightly less exuberant with a plainer colouring, still iridescent, and with a surface moulded to give a feel of bark striations and dimples. 'Formosa' consisted of raised applied glass threads zig-zaging around the main body of the glass vase.

But this just scratches at the surface of the range of decoration invented by Loetz. The shapes were predominantly Art Nouveau and there were many thousands of shapes developed at this peak in their output. Shapes included Persian perfume sprinklers, vases with dented and pushed in sides, and many with applied handles. Famous designers who worked for them include Koloman Moser, Marie Kirschner, Joseph Hoffmann, Otto Prutscher, Dagobert Peche, Michel Powolny and Leopold Bauer. Designs by Kirschner and Moser tended to be simple and geometric. Kirschner studied painting and had designed and painted wall hangings before designing for Loetz. Whilst at Loetz she produced more than two hundred designs. Many are in a slightly iridescent translucent purple or cream coloured glass, with applied geometric handles but with no further ornamentation. Koloman Mosers glass was iridescent with strong geometric shapes and many applied handles or loops. While Bauers designs were more figurative and irregular.

In 1904 Loetz began to introduce strongly contrasting glass colours, such as orange changing into blue or yellow into purple via trails and spots of very high iridescence splattered randomly around the glass. Adolf Beckert became artistic director in 1911, and began a series of enamelled tableware in clear and frosted glass. Generally the enamels depicted animals and birds. Also a new range of acid cut cameo with birds, flowers and landscapes. It was very different to the earlier iridescent designs. Loetz went bankrupt in 1911, and eventually became a public company after the First World War. Sadly the company suffered a fire in 1930 and then ceased during the Second World War. Signed Loetz was generally made for export.


Resistance is futile, but impedance is much more complex!

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