Florian Kolhammer

Art nouveau vase
By glass factory Johann Loetz Witwe and metal mount by Argentor
Glass, mould-blown and freeform, reduced and iridescent; brass mount, silver-plated
Austria, circa 1902
H 28 x W 13 x D 9.5 cm
Provenance: private collection, Vienna
Literature: Marked underneath 'Argentor' and '7'; Bib.: E. Ploil, H. Ricke e.a. (ed.), Loetz-Böhmisches Glas 1880-1940, vol. II, Musterschnitte, Prestel, Munich 1989, paper pattern 842, p. 121

Johann Lötz Witwe was a Bohemian (currently Czech Republic) glassworks company founded by Johann Baptist Eisner, in the town of Klostermühle, Bohemia in 1836. The glassworks was known for its brightly colored Art Nouveau styled ornaments and vases, which were sometimes made to imitate jasper, lapis, and onyx. In 1850 Eisner sold the company to Johann Lötz, whose death led to the company’s current name, Witwe -which means widow in German- when his wife Susanna inherited the company. The company’s most well-known design is part of the Phänomen series, which won the Grand Prix at Exposition Universelle in 1900.The fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the coming of World War II led to the company’s demise in 1947. Works made at the Johann Lötz Witwe factory are in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Prague Art and Design, and the Heinrich Glass Museum in Düsseldorf, among others.

Vases with the colour-intensive 'Medici' decoration from the 'Phänomen Genre' family have always been sought-after collector's items for the clientele of Johann Loetz Witwe. The strongly iridescent silver crumbled tongues on the rare 'Maigrün' (may green) background are excellently accentuated on the reduced and classically elegant vase. As so often in the Jugendstil movement, the design of the decoration evokes the association of petals nestled against the shape of the vase. The silver-plated metal mount by the metal goods producer Argentor adds a special charm to this exquisite specimen. Not only does the glass object demonstrate the high art of glassblowing, the metal mount , which is marked 'W' on the bottom, also illustrates the true craftsmanship of the 20th century.