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Mirror frame, Michael Powolny (Wiener Keramik & Gmunder Keramik, ca. 1913)

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BelleEpoque's loves349 of 713My repair on Arts and Crafts brooch, enamel attributed to Charles Fleetwood VARLEY. Jugendstil / Art Nouveau Box, Probably Biscuit Tin, Early 20th Cent.
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Posted 3 years ago

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austrohung…
(574 items)

I do believe we have an important piece here, a very important one. This is the mirror frame model No. 287 of the Wiener Keramik company and although it was originally designed in 1910, it was made circa 1913 (according to the monograms). It was distributed through the Wiener Werkstätte.

The Wiener Keramik was created by Michael Powolny and Barthold Löffler in 1906. Both of them were already collaborating for some time with Josef Hoffmann in several of his greatest works (Palais Stoclet, Kabaret Fledermaus, Villa Primavesi…), providing sculptures, reliefs, bronzes... and of course ceramics (like those for the Kabaret Fledermaus).

In 1907, the Wiener Werkstätte buys the Wiener Keramik models to be sold at the WW stores as well as to be distributed.

In 1912, the Spring Exhibition at the Austrian Museum for Art and Industry (nowadays known as the MAK) was to be found a whole room designed by Löffler that displays the ceramics desihned by both Löffler and Powolny. Also in 1912, Wiener Keramik joins Gmunder Keramik in order to be able to produce an increasingly demanded production.

Due to the increasing popularity of their ceramics, from 1914 many designers from the Wiener Werkstätte started creating for them, and the Wiener Werkstatte founded its own ceramics workshops in 1916.
In 1919, Wiener Keramik disappears and only Gmunder Keramik remains, still producing the popular Powolny designs (although it seems the colours are not as bright as in the original production).
This mirror frame, just like many other designs, were first produced in colour (displaying a whole range of bright, bold colours contrasting with each other) and a later black & white version, following the fashion for black & white created by Josef Hoffmann, was issued. This black & white versions were sold cheaper than those in colour.

The geometrical flower motif comes directly from Gustav Klimt’s cascades of flowers in both figures and backgrounds as well as from the reliefs at both the cupola, façade and the access corridor of the Palais Stoclet. As symbols, they talk us about VER SACRUM, the Sacred Spring of the Vienesse Sezession movement. Their being geometrical a symbol of differentiation from the organic/flowery Art Nouveau style as well as a search of their own language.
This obsession for architectural and geometrical “stone gardens” as an opposition to the merely natural, will have a huge influence in the French Art Déco of the 1920s.

The “Putto” motif, boy or angel, is essential in Powolny’s work and he repeats it constantly linked to the four seasons subject. Both the angels (putti) and the singing bird, just like the geometrical garland, insist on the he symbolic rennaisance of a Sacred Spring of Arts.

On pic 2 you can see the back of the frame and a detail of the signature. You can see the production number 287 as well as the monograms for the Wiener Keramik and Gmunder Keramik. As they joined in 1912, we believe this mirror frame comes from around 1913.

On pic 3 there are four details of the frame, where you can see in detail the flowers, the bird and the two putti.

On pic 4 you can see a collage of images showing a few of the ceramic works of Powolny and Löffler displaying putti and birds and flowers, a drawing by Löffler with the same elements and you can see one of the mirror frames made in black & white. At the right top you can see a photograph of the 1912 room designed by Löffler. At the bottom of the collage you can see some images of parts of the Palais Stoclet they designed as well as a photograph of the Kabaret Fledermaus where one of Powolny’s putti can be seen. A Wiener Werkstätte postcard will give you an idea of the colourful interiors of the Fledermaus. All the ceramics used there were designed by Powolny and Löffler.

Comments

  1. SEAN68 SEAN68, 3 years ago
    and again another stunner!!!
  2. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Well Sean... I simply love to surprise you ;)

    Thanks for you love and nice comment"!!!
  3. fledermaus fledermaus, 3 years ago
    What a wonderful piece! Love Powolny!
  4. Manikin Manikin, 3 years ago
    Gorgeous austro ! Your collection always amazes me !!!
    Can you help on this post . Are these dolls from Spain ?
    http://www.collectorsweekly.com/stories/127773-where-is-the-doll-from-holland?in=activity#comment-570445
  5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    OMG!

    Amazing!
    Thank you both for sharing this incredible piece, gentlemen!
  6. SEAN68 SEAN68, 3 years ago
    Yes!! austro you do get a charge of surprising me :) Your very welcome austro!!
  7. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks Fledermaus!!! He was such a complete artist! This mirror frame is pretty naif, but is pure Vienna! (and pure Art Deco from 1910!!!)

    Thanks Mani! I'm afraid I've been late to answer to your request... no Spanish dolls anyway.

    Thanks Vet!!! You're the gentleman here!

    Sean, you also surprise me so very often!!!

    Thanks surfdub, mike, petey, ho2cultcha, geo and agh for your love!!!
  8. SEAN68 SEAN68, 3 years ago
    Thankyou austro :)
  9. Moonhill Moonhill, 3 years ago
    Great piece and wonderful colors.... A lucky man here.
  10. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks Moonhill!!! two lucky gentlemen here ;)

    Thanks to Amber and valentino too!!!!
  11. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 3 years ago
    Outstanding - congratulations - very important piece, indeed.
  12. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks Bohemian!!! I won't pretend: we're just delighted with it :)
  13. DrFluffy DrFluffy, 3 years ago
    WOW.... STUNNING...
  14. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks for your love Dr!!!
  15. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks Violet!!!
  16. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks for loving it, Tom!
  17. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks Mike & Czechman!!!
  18. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks Phil, Radeguder and Alfredo for loving it! :)
  19. Katzl Katzl, 3 years ago
    WOW!!!! What an AMAZING find!!! Just wonderful..!!! Where do you find such pieces!!?! Thanks for sharing it here!
  20. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks Amandajane and Katzl. Actually, it came from ebay :)

    Thanns Katzl for such a nice comment!!!
  21. Katzl Katzl, 3 years ago
    Wow again - the flowers are so well sculpted, and the colours are gorgeous..!! And the composition with the bird between the two puttos...!!!
  22. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    I see you really, really, really like it!!!

    Powolny was an incredible artist!
  23. Katzl Katzl, 3 years ago
    Most definitely!! :)
  24. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks for loving ho2cultcha!!!
  25. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks for your love AMANDA, AGUSTIN and NORDICMAN!!!!
  26. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks for your love SURFDUB!!!
  27. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 3 years ago
    How wonderful!!
  28. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks for your love ELIZABETHAN and DrFLUFFY!!!

    By the way, ELiZABETHAN, long time no see!
  29. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Thanks for your love PATSEA!!!
  30. Virginia.vintage Virginia.vintage, 3 years ago
    A sweet beauty! Belleza total austro, muchas gracias por compartirla. Saludos!
  31. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    Virginia.vintage loves this.
    BelleEpoqueBelleEpoque loves this.
    surfdub66surfdub66 loves this.

    SURFDUB, BellEPOQUE and VIRGINIA, thanks for loving it!!!

    Me alegro mucho de que te guste, Virginia :) está un poco a medio camino entre los ublime y lo kitsch o incluso lo cursi, pero no, es sublime :)
  32. Virginia.vintage Virginia.vintage, 3 years ago
    Amo lo sublime y lo cursi ;)
    Es hermosa austro!
    Abrazo!!
  33. austrohungaro austrohungaro, 3 years ago
    jajaja, no me esperaba esa respuesta :)

    Of course it's beautiful!!!
  34. Virginia.vintage Virginia.vintage, 3 years ago
    jaja, yes it is austro, and the colors, omg!! :)

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