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Modern attributions to Julius Maess

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Art Glass3536 of 22650Riedel Glass Vase c1890Peloton glass collection
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    Posted 4 years ago

    (28 items)

    The people who created the shapes and decorations of glasses are only partially known. It is a merit of the art sciences to bring one or the other name from the depths to the light of the public. Not all designers are really well-known, others have left their footprints in practically all areas of the decorative arts. Julius Maess or Julius Camillo Maess or Julius Camillo de Maess is a rather unknown person in the arts and crafts. He was born in Munich in 1845, where he attended the Kunstgewerbeschule and the Akademie der Bildenden Künste (Academy of Fine Arts) (as "Julius Maeß" enrolled in the antique class in 1866). Afterwards he worked "1881 in Stuttgart and 1882 in Nuremberg, later he made paintings in Padua and Vicenza. He copied mainly painters and engravers of the 17th century. Of his larger works in churches little is preserved, because the quality of his works of art was not permanent because of weak techniques, most have faded or got lost." (Heraldry page of Dr. Bernhard Peter). In 1886 he moved to Berlin Friedenau and began to design ex-libris.
    Julius Maess is practically absent from literature as a glass or decorative arts designer. One of the few original examples is the publication by Gustav Pazaurek, Moderne Gläser (page 123, see illustration 2). Pazaurek presents three vases with gold decoration "after Julius Maess from the Count Schafgottsch's Josephinenhütte in Schreiberhau". Pazaurek praises them for their "pretty new decorative motifs".
    In 1990s literature Maes is always mentioned as "Julius Camillo Maess" (Cappa: Le génie verrier de l'Europe, Passau: Das Böhmische Glas, Zoedler: Schlesisches Glas). It was not until Stefania Zelasko's monograph on the Josephinenhütte in 2009 that the name "Julius Camillo de Maess" appeared. Zelasko mentions "Professor Julius Camillo de Maess" together with Professor Max Rade as "the best designers" and calls him the author of the glasses depicted by Pazaurek and also attributes him designs for hot finished glasses. Unfortunately, she does not mention any sources that prove these attributions. Nowhere else is Julius Maes called a professor, nor is he ennobled in any other source: "de Maess".
    His name is always associated with "painter". A reference to Julius Maess as a designer can be found in Lützow, Carl Friedrich Adolf von [ed.], Kunst und Kunstgewerbe at the Vienna World Exhibition 1873, Leipzig, 1875, p. 375. Here is a singers' goblet in silver-plated nickel silver after a design by Jul. Maeß, an object designed throughout in the style of historicism (image 3). His later Exlibris designs are also committed to the old style. With the exception of the glasses mentioned by Pazaurek, works in modern Art Nouveau are not documented. The role of Julius Maes as designer of the Josephinenhütte becomes even more incomprehensible if one considers glasses that undoubtedly come in shapes from the glassworks of Wilhelm Kralik Sohn, but show the identical decoration of the Josephinenhütte and are partially signed with ARub (for Arnold Rub), a retailer in Nice, France (see example in Figure 4).
    The middle vase at Pazaurek is also in the collection of the Passauer Glasmuseum. Jan Mergl quotes the magazine "Sprechsaal (1901, p. 373)" in Volume V of the documentation "Das Böhmische Glas": "Ornamental vessels painted with enamel and gold decoration, 'partly according to drawings by the painter Julius Maess in Berlin' were presented by the glassworks at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900. It is very likely that this vase also belonged to the Paris collection. The very fine and meticulous workmanship speaks in favour of this". What Mergl still considers probable is already certain for Zelasko: "This vase belonged to the collection for the Paris World Exhibition in 1900" (Josephinenhütte 1900-1950, p. 71, no. 32). But here, too, there is no unambiguous proof.
    The vase, with its delicate colour gradient and ornamental Art Nouveau decoration in gold and green, is indeed an outstanding example of Art Nouveau glass art and worthy of a gold medal. Whether it was really exhibited in Paris in 1900 remains to be seen. The authorship of Julius Maess seems to be supported by two contemporary sources. But "Julius Maess" is correct and not "Julius Camillo de Maess". Every serious publication and collection should stick to the facts. Today, when glasses are traded as designs by "Julius Camillo de Maess", the same source is always involved, a source whose reliability shall be questioned by serious collectors.

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    1. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 4 years ago
      Great points, Volkmar - we should always be prepared to question things when the documentation is so nebulous, even if such believe are long held.
    2. bohemianglassandmore bohemianglassandmore, 4 years ago
      believe = beliefs. :)
    3. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 4 years ago
      good points, but there is just as little if not less documentation in the direction of kralik from this period, or who actually commissioned with a rubb, is there not? a lot of what we have in terms of identification from this era seems nebulous.
    4. glasfreund glasfreund, 4 years ago
      It is true that documentions from that time are hardly or not available. I find it all the more important that monographs, which are used as references and cited, have to be processed especially carefully. A brilliant example is the book by Jan Mergl on 300 years of Harrach glass.
    5. Wow22, 4 years ago
      Thank you for such a scholarly and informative post.

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