Vase with etched decor, Hans Bolek, Johann Loetz Witwe, decor Opal with black, ca. 1915
In 1909 Adolf Beckert, known for his etched glass designs, was appointed artistic director of the glassworks Johann Loetz-Witwe. He invited some of the most important designers of the time to draft glasses for the Werkbund exhibition in 1914. Among them was the architect Hans Bolek, who supplied 17 designs for this exhibition.
This small bowl with the striking decor “Opal with Black” falls into the group of multi-layered overlay glasses with etched decoration. Here too, the colourless glass is underlaid inside with opal white and overlaid outside with black. The typical heart motif with the double tip was etched out of the black overlay. The background of the ornament is formed by ice glass.
Bolek places the heart leaf frieze on the lower part of the vase. Vertical lines divide the wall, which opens upwards, into a decorative plant ornament and a geometric linear part.
Hans Bolek (Vienna 1890 - 1978 Vienna) was an Austrian architect and designer. Born in Vienna in 1890, he studied at the Vienna School of Arts and Crafts with Josef Hoffmann from 1906 to 1910. At the same time, he was also an employee in the studio of Otto Prutscher. In 1910, Bolek became self-employed as an architect and in 1914 he was a founding member of the Austrian Werkbund. He provided designs for buildings and, as a versatile designer, created furniture, ceramics, glass and jewellery. After the Second World War, Bolek taught at the Vienna Fashion School from 1946 to 1962 and worked as a painter and graphic artist. Bolek died in Vienna in 1978. Glass collectors know the name Bolek because of his glass designs for the company Johann Loetz Witwe. Between 1912 and 1917, Bolek created numerous designs for form and decoration for the Loetz glass manufacture, including vessels that were explicitly intended for presentation at the famous Werkbund exhibition in Cologne in 1914. These so-called "Werkbundgläser" are not only an impressive testimony of technical mastery, their modern decors also differ fundamentally from the Jugendstil décors of the "phenomenon genres" from the Loetz company.
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