Very pretty Art Nouveau green glass vase of globular form with fine petrol blue iridescent surface and further applied with silver floral decoration to the body and geometric silver pattern to the neck
Loetz glass was the premier Bohemian art glass manufacturer during the Art Nouveau period (or Jugendstil, as it was called in German-speaking countries) from roughly 1890 to 1920. Founded in 1840 by Johann Loetz in what is now the Czech Republic, the company became known for its innovative techniques, organic forms, and bold use of color.
Before Loetz glass became known for its Phänomen and “oil spot” pieces, it had pioneered a surface technique called Marmoriertes, which produced a marbled red, pink, or green surface on objects such as vases and bowls. Another late-1880s precursor to its most prized works are the Octopus pieces, whose white curlicue lines on a darker, mottled surface was thought to resemble the tentacles of octopi.
By 1889, Loetz glass was one of the region’s leading glassmakers. That year, the company took first prize at the Paris Exhibition for its classic vase forms, some of which were hand-worked and deformed into swirling, organic-looking shapes like seashells, flowers, and tree trunks. Decorative vases, cups, and pitchers were other popular forms in the Loetz lexicon, and many of the pieces practically glowed thanks to their iridescent sheen from the firing and reduction techniques that were popular at the time. For its contributions to the field, Loetz glass was awarded the grand prize at the Paris World Exhibition in 1900.
One of the most beautiful and collectible Loetz series from this period is called Phänomen, whose chief characteristic is the rippled or featherlike designs on the object’s surface. Loetz artisans achieved this unique effect by wrapping hot glass threads around an equally hot molten base. The threads were then pulled on the object’s surface to make waves and other designs while the materials were still malleable.
The company patented the Phänomen technique in 1898 and used it in combination with techniques pioneered by L.C. Tiffany in the United States—in particular, Tiffany’s iridescent Favrile work. Combined, the two techniques provided plenty of inspiration for Loetz designers and artisans, including E. Prochaska, Franz Hofstötter, and Koloman Moser.
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