Posted 3 years ago
I was overjoyed when I was able to acquire this vase recently! It comes from the influential Mogens Ballin metal workshop which was in existence 1900-1908. Born into a Jewish family in 1871, Mogens Ballin was trained as a painter and travelled extensively in France (where he befriended Paul Gauguin and others) and Italy in the early 1890’s. In 1893 he converted to Catholicism and became increasingly interested in the Symbolist movement which he helped bringing to Denmark. In 1900 he opened his metal workshop, idealistically wanting to use not only silver, but also cheaper metals such as copper and pewter to make the products affordable. Stylistically, he was inspired by Jugendstil and ideologically by the Arts and Crafts movement, declaring in a letter that he drew inspiration from “William Morris, John Ruskin and their peers”.
He hired a number of artists, notably Georg Jensen (famous in his own right) and Siegfried Wagner (1874-1952), who is the designer of this vase. After his wife’s death in 1907 (and alone five small children), Ballin sold the workshop to silversmith Hans Peter Hertz, who continued using some of Ballin’s designs, but with a different mark (the Hertz shop, the exterior unchanged since 1904, still exists in central Copenhagen). I bought this vase online from a person who had simply advertised it as a ‘pewter vase’ – it was a family heirloom, passed down from her grandmother’s father. I almost told her not to sell it so cheaply to me (selfishly I didn’t, though – and now it has a new home where it is greatly appreciated!).
Here’s an article about Mogens Ballin’s influence on Danish silver and metalware, with a photo of this very type of vase! http://www.broehan-museum.de/08_symposien/08_symposien_metalwork_i.html
Height: 13.3 cm; diameter 12.6 cm. Oddly enough, there is no mark on this vase. Had it been marked, it would carry ‘MB’ for Mogens Ballin and ‘T13’ for ‘Tin Vase 13’. Siegfried Wagner left in 1902 to take on another job, so the vase must have been designed 1900-1902, although it was probably manufactured for some time after that. I apologise for the quality of the first picture - it's difficult to photograph shiny things!