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Besides the craftmanship of its glass blowers, the
success of Loetz was based on the driving spirits of 2 men: owner Max von Spaun and
director E. Prochaska. They were responsible for the well-organised production
and the world wide contacts.
Von Spaun's ambition and Prochaska's artistic and technical
skills made the company Bohemia's foremost art glass producer and brought it world fame.
Prochaska was a master in the art of glass melting. He knew how different glass types
would behave and how they could be applied in the final product. Moreover, he was directly
responsible for the design of a number of forms and decorations. A large proportion
of Loetz vases, however, were developed in cooperation with outside designers who relied on
Loetz craftsmen and Prochaska's guiding hand. The artists that lend their talent to the
Klostermühle glass works often belonged to the most progressive of their era.
- 5169, 1907, design attr. to E. Prochaska, © JO
Franz Hofstätter had already been the main designer
for the Paris 1900 World Exhibition. His designs with the fabulous Phänomen decors belong
to the finest in the collection. But in the period between 1907 and 1912 he also closely
worked with E. Prochaska, with whom he created some exacting glasses in the Titania
here for two
"The technical virtuosity achieved
at the Loetz glassworks was initially displayed in a series of three windows, a
collaboration between Spaun and Hofstätter. At the time, Hofstätter had no prior
experience in the medium of glass, and was therefore uninhibited by any conception of the
limitations of the medium. This led Spaun to create new glass types that had not before
been considered, in order to achieve Hofstätter's visions. The artistic success of this
project was continued with Hofstätter's contributions to the resulting Phanomen design
The firm was also fortunate in being the chosen executor of designs made in glass by the
Vienna Succession designers, who formed the Wiener Werkstätte in 1903, and who held the
position of leadership in modern design. These designers included Koloman Moser, Josef
Hoffmann, Dagobert Peche, and Michael Powolny, amongst many others."
© AJ 2000
Titania thea mit amethyst (?) Ausf. 118, 1911, II - 7908, design: F.
Her first contributions to the Loetz collection date from 1897/1898, but it was mainly
between 1900 and 1914 that she created the tasteful forms that gradually replaced the Art
Her style relies more on elegant, timeless simplicity and well-balanced
composition, than on spectacular decors and bizarre organic
forms. Typical of her work is softly coloured, transparent glass (violet or green) with
mat as well as intensive iridescence. She also used crackled glass as well as types with
silver metal foil inclusions.
Her work was often signed "MK"
optisch, 1904, 1090/150,
design: M. Kirschner, signed "MK",
Beckert was responsible for the craftful design
of a series of cameo vessels. He started working with Loetz in 1909. Before his designs, etched
glasses were only made in limited quantities. He learned his trade in the North-Bohemian
"Fachschule für Glasindustrie" in Haida (Nový Bor) where the technique of
etching was extensively known. This background and the rich variety of glass types that
Loetz had developed through the years clearly set his vessels apart from his French
contemporaries. For more
examples, see "Loetz 1905-1918, W. Neuwirth", p. 166-231.
Melusin mit blattgrün, 1910, unknown, decor: A. Beckert, © NW
and Koloman Moser.
"Koloman Moser, and his students, began providing designs to Loetz in the late
at first in flowing geometric forms. Subsequently, Moser and Josef Hoffmann were strongly
influenced by the Glasgow designers, led by Charles Rennie Macintosh, who were exhibiting
Moser's glass designs were most influenced by the English modernist designer,
Christopher Dresser, whose influence is strongly apparent in the glass designs created by
Moser in 1901 for a Bakolowitz commission, and produced by Loetz. Dresser can be
considered the first modernist designer, and this modernist design was immediately adopted
by Moser and Hoffman, who together with their students, and fellow modernists, founded the
Wiener Werkstätte in 1903 to realize their visions.
The Wiener Werkstätte emulated the Guild of Handicrafts, as created in Britain by
C.R. Ashbee, and reorganized the Vienna guild system. The development of modern design
therefore passed from the Glasgow School, to the Bauhaus after W.W.I, through the prewar
designs of Moser and Hoffmann, and the realizations of the designs of the Wiener
Alden Jones © AJ
|Opal with black stripes
(Zebra decor) , 1903-1904, unknown, design: K. Moser.
|Opal Phänomen Gre. 358,
Com. 85/3804, design
J. Hoffmann ( © HR)
Hoffmann's best known
work though is from a later date. His geometrically shaped, etched vases with the
famous stalks and leaves, were designed in 1911. He introduced new colours in unusual
combinations: (creamy) white, dark blue, light green and red with black, dark blue and
dark red. Other designers soon found inspiration in his work. Especially Hans Bolek and
Carl Witzmann closely
Glass types that imitated semiprecious stones also belonged to Hoffmann's
favourites. To add some noblesse to the clear and simple lines, they were often decorated
with gold details
brilliantopal mit rot, 1911, II - 8029.
Right: maigrün mit schwarz, 1912, II - 8127.
Form and design: J. Hoffmann, ©
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