Posted 9 years ago
**Rainbow glass made by Loetz was first mentioned as a novelty in 1890 in Ackermann's Illustrierte Wiener Gewerbe-Zeitung (Illustrated Vienna Business Newspaper), 1890, cols. 327-328. It was also shown at the 1890 exhibition of the Kunstgewerbeverein (Arts and Crafts Association) in Vienna.
Rainbow glass was probably carried out in small series only. The only references to it in the cut-out paper patterns (Ricke II) are for commissioned pieces for L. Boutigny in Paris, right arount 1890.** The Boutigny vases shown were all fairly small; this one is an exception- it is fairly large, at 5.0" tall and about 8.0" across, and weighing nearly 3 pounds.
In terms of execution, this is a technically difficult piece. alternate patches of pink, turquoise blue, topaz yellow, and brown are embedded in a colorless ground one color fading imperceptibly into the next. The bowl has 12 lobes, and on top of this are 26 diagonal ribs that flow from the top of the bowl section to the base. The area around the top of the bowl (and the bottom of the rim) is ground flat; presumably to give the rim a flat base on which to sit. This piece is the exception to a rule: The base has a large shallow dimple, which is ground and polished, yet the factory rim is ground flat and polished. The decoration shows that this is intentional, as this type of rim is also found on certain marmoriertes vases from the same time period. To add to the coolness factor, the topaz yellow sections are highly UV reactive, as the last photo shows.
One of the earliest decors, only pre-dated by Octopus, Marmoriertes, and Intarsia, it is also very hard to find in the open market. This only the third or fourth one I've seen outside of the Passau Museum Collection.
**source: Loetz Bohemian Glass 1880-1940, by Mergl, Ploil, & Ricke (Hatje Cantz)