another region with the same provenance of classically elegant glassware dating
back to the middle ages as that of Italy, the Bohemian glassmakers of the 19th
century paved the way for their successors to take a central role in Art Glass
several hundred years perfecting the production of a wide variety of cut,
glided, enamelled and etched pieces, the 1800’s saw a collective shift in
emphasis for the glassmakers of this loosely-defined central European region
from a preoccupation with shape and form to the use of ingenious and inventive
methods of working with different surfaces. This started with experiments in
marbling which accentuated and complemented the extant use of iridescent glass
created by the particular firing and reduction techniques which were already in
In the first
instance, it was vases, pitchers, jugs and large cups or bowls which were made
with these new materials, and they would often be initially blown to a basic
pattern, before being re-heated and twisted, stretched and distorted in to less
formal shapes which drew heavily on naturalistic inspiration for their curves,
whorls, twists and spirals. One of the most enthusiastic developers of these
themes was Johann Loetz, who had already won international acclaim for his work
with marbled glass, and who had touched on later developments by trying to
approximate texturing by the imaginative use of colour.
progression was to then physically apply textured finishes, rather than being
satisfied with approximating the visual effect alone, and Loetz developed a
technique known as Phänomen which involved the application of molten glass
threads to a separately-formed base which was also still hot; these threads
were then dragged and stretched over the surface of the base piece, which imparted
furrows and channels – you can imagine how this combined with marbling to
create a three dimensional fusion of both varying colour and texture.
Loetz then drew
inspiration from the region’s traditional iridescent glass, and further
enhanced this finish by incorporating improvements he divined from the
processes used for Tiffany’s similar “favrile” style of glassware which was
being made in the United States. Ultimately, this research would lead to
Loetz’s renowned Diaspora series of pieces, which had a virtually metallic
finish, such was the polished and reflective effects which were achieved.
Again in common
with Italy, as the 20th century progressed the appearance of Bohemian glassware
would mirror artistic movements as they waxed and waned. Colour schemes would
briefly become popular before losing favour, leaving different collections each
with their own distinctive hues. The Tango range featured bright yellows and
dark blues, black, white and an almost fluorescent green, two of which would be
paired on individual pieces to give vivid contrasts; Perlglas pieces, on the
other hand, were largely translucent and echoed much earlier Bohemian pieces
which relied more on form and function rather than eyecatching colour or
texture to captivate.
There are two possibilities for the manufacture. There was a manufacturer in Lorraine, France who marked pieces Richard. Then there is Loetz who also produced cameo for a retailer and signed Richard. On this occasion we will opt for the Loetz attribution.
Artistic expression being given a voice via the medium of glass when under a communist regime. This was being conceived and manufactured before the spring uprising of 1968. Quite a laudable achievement.