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Mystery Lady

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Art Nouveau2670 of 3149Franz Welz Vase or Lamp?old fork
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Posted 5 years ago

(47 items)

When I saw the photos of this vase from a provincial English auction house, my first thought was - Fritz Heckert. Now, I've not handled a piece, but based on photographs the similarities in the enamelling seemed strong, even down to the style and execution of the face. It's probably my middle-aged perspective, but I always feel the Heckert female faces look more determined and mature than young and ethereal, and this lady certainly fits that bill!
Now I have it in hand, I'm not so sure, and I'd love your views.
My doubts are not to do with the enamelling, which is beautiful quality - note the dress, which is in raised orange enamel in 2 shades, with infil gilding. Then there's the spider, and the roses , and - well you get it!
My doubts are about the base glass. This is clear class, with optic ribs, and with a delicate soap bubble rainbow iridescence applied to the glass before the enamel. I know that Heckert did make this type of glass, but all the photos I have seen of Heckert enamel pieces of this style are on glass that, for want of a better description, looks like a variant of Loetz Olympia.
The piece is 13 inches or 33 cm tall, with no markings that I can discern anywhere. It is mould blown and cut from the top, which is then gilded - no pontil mark.
So - any thoughts? If she's not Heckert, where might she have come from? I've listed her as Bohemian for now (despite being possibly German!), but I'd love some suggestions ...

Unsolved Mystery

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  1. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 5 years ago
    Fritz Heckert got their glass from a variety of sources and a had variety of different looks for the base glass. This definitely could be Heckert.

    Have you looked all over the decoration for designers initials? Heckert tended to hide things. I suppose there are other possibilities for this piece as well, Like Pohl or Steinschonau or something along those lines but to me this has a super heckerty vibe to it. I love it. If you ever wanna talk trade lemme know ; )

    She looks like she is supposed to be out of a fairy tale, like Morgan le fay or something like that.
  2. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thank you, Gary!
  3. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thank you, Great Snowy One. I have been over her with a fine tooth comb in natural and artificial light, with and without my glasses, and I can't find a mark anywhere - not even the remains of any long gone gilded mark on the base. It made my eyes hurt! There's nothing.
    My gut is also that she is very Heckerty - and I take a lot of comfort from your vibe, coming as it does from a div ... as Mike Moir would put it.
    I know what you mean about fairy tale - I was thinking mythology. Arachne sprang to mind ...
    If I get tired of her, I'll let you know. There's not much in your collection I wouldn't want to find houseroom for!
  4. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thank you, Rosa, Carlomar, Al, Inky, and Vetraio50. Most kind!
  5. cogito cogito, 5 years ago
    Great looking vase. My head says Heckert, but my gut has doubts. I'm not certain what it is about the vase that makes me think otherwise. I think it might be the enameling itself. The motif, as you note, is quite unusual and very Symbolist in nature. The spider, candle and broom are certainly "witchy." Is that stand original to the vase? If so, that's the first I've seen for Heckert. I love this mystery!
  6. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thanks Cogito - glad you love it!
    No, the stand does not "belong" with the vase - sorry for the confusion. It is a completely unrelated English, black pressed glass, deco period plinth - the sort often used to display Davidson cloud glass. I just wanted something with contrast to show the base properly and I thought it looked rather nice!
    I don't think it's a broom. I think it's a spindle - she's collecting the spider thread on to it. That's what made me think Arachne. I slightly wonder if the roses have anything to do with it though - my brain is now spinning on to sleeping beauty, fingers pricking on spinning wheels and rose thorn hedges . . .
    Does that help with your gut or not? Does your gut have any other ideas who she might be by?
  7. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Oh, and thanks to Perfumer and Petey!
  8. cogito cogito, 5 years ago
    It's not the subject matter that gives me a slight gut pause. It's something about the enameling itself. The areas are a bit monochromatic (except for the raised and combed colored dress). I think the distinctive gold painted top might provide a better clue. I've seen that sort of top rim design and raised enamel on Jugendstil floral pieces by Harrach. See PM Band IV, pg. 193. That being said, this would be the first figural Harrach enamel piece that I have seen. I think Heckert and Harrach would be in the primary attribution running...
  9. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 5 years ago
    I was going on the witchy vibe as well. Arachne was turned into a spider she didn't collect spider silk when she was still human right?

    it reminds of the detail you find in the dr metzner pieces.

  10. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 5 years ago
    It looks very aubrey beardsley influenced.
  11. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thanks Cogito - I've seen that gold painted top on Harrach too, I even have a piece. But it's on lots of other makers' work too, and it's not the same as the gold top on the Harrach enamels in PMC IV, at least to my limited eye! I'm still torn!
    GSO - I agree, very Beardsley. I was thinking Arachne not directly but as an inspiration, because of the spindle and the weaving spider. She was turned into a spider because her weaving was so fine it infuriated Athena, so that forever after she would do the finest weavings in the world, only to have them brushed away and despised. Arachne is often depicted in human form surrounded by spiders or webs.
  12. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    And thank you, Justanovice and Bratjdd.
  13. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thank you, Mike & Debbie! Any thoughts on maker? I'm less and less convinced it could be Heckert ...
  14. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Very true- I think Beardsley-ish in broad style, but definitely not sufficiently kinky in subject matter! He influenced style a lot, while the common taste shied away from his more risqué content. Generally that stuff appears on/in things that can be hidden away - not big public display items. Aubrey was publically under-appreciated in his short life - don't forget we were not far from the days of public Victorian prudery, when we put skirts on piano legs as they were deemed too suggestive and corrupting. What the average Victorian gentleman was getting up to/collecting in the privacy of his own study was a very different thing! There was an astonishing amount of moral hypocrisy in late Victorian/Edwardian England.
  15. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thank you, Sean. I love her more and more ... But still not convinced she is Heckert. I wonder if anyone else has any thoughts on her maker?
  16. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 5 years ago
    beardsley had his naughty bits but he did a lot of illustrations that weren't naughty as well :)
  17. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    True enough - hence the reference to his more risqué content. But his more staid work tends to seem less inspired, to me at least.
  18. Londonloetzlearner Londonloetzlearner, 5 years ago
    Thank you, clockerman, Lisa and bratjdd!

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