Art Glass aficionados know a Tiffany Studios lamp on sight and can clock a Lalique vase from across a room. Daum and Gallé have made their indelible mark on the form, too. But there's a sleeper studio in the mix that insiders also know and love for its virtuosic command of the medium: The glassworks studio Loetz, founded in 1836 in Southern Bohemia (now the Czech Republic) a region with a rich centuries-long tradition of glassmaking is a favorite of curators and collectors. And on May 25, in its Pursuit of Beauty: Art Nouveau, Art Deco & Art Glass Signature® Auction, Heritage
presents an important private collection of 41 Loetz works that demonstrate the firm's tremendous range of production and the works' timeless appeal. The auction also marks Heritage's continuing successful expansion of the category with highlights spanning a range of media and regions. "Our upcoming Pursuit of Beauty auction features the widest array of early 20th century we have ever offered," says Samantha Robinson, Heritage's Consignment Director of Decorative Arts & Design. "It includes American, British and continental art glass, ceramics, sculpture, furniture and works on paper that collectively demonstrate the parade of styles throughout the period. Since we rebranded this auction series last year, our goal has been to expand its scope to encompass all media, and this season we accomplished it."
In the latter part of the 19th century, Loetz introduced new techniques to satisfy voracious demand and ever-shifting tastes. And in 1897, Loetz's encounter with the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany exhibited in Bohemia and Berlin altered the trajectory of firm's experiments and led to its most dynamic and prolific period. Loetz unveiled the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Phaenomen series of designs featuring iridescent, decorated surfaces. At the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, Loetz won the Grand Prix award (alongside contemporaries Tiffany, Gallé, Daum and Lobmeyr) for its Phaenomen line, including several works contributed by acclaimed designer Franz Hofstötter. Following its success in Paris Loetz continued to collaborate with established designers, including Marie Kirschner, Otto Prutscher and Josef Hoffmann, and produced wares through its closure in 1947.
The collection in the May 25 event features many of the most celebrated and sought after Loetz decors and forms, each among the finest examples of its respective type due to the collector's discerning eye. Among the highlights are two Franz Hofstötter designs for the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle: a Phaenomen (Gre 2/314) glass vase circa 1902; and a Phaenomen (Gre 358) glass vase circa 1900. There are rare examples that seldom come to market, including a Loetz Titania (Ausf 118) vase circa 1911.
Also in the May 25 event, Heritage Auctions will present the first installment of an important private collection of Art Nouveau and Art Deco bronzes that epitomize the pursuit of beauty through representation of the female form. The collection traces the competing and shifting styles of the period, from Neoclassicism and Orientalism to Art Nouveau and Art Deco. The collection, which was assembled by a passionate and discerning private collector over the past two decades, includes iconic works by many of the most celebrated and prolific sculptors. Highlights include Franz Bergmann's Cleopatra with Panthers circa 1900; Demetre Chiparus' Egyptian Dancer circa 1927 and Girl on Stool circa 1920; Bruno Zach's Checkers and Fringe from 1920; Marcel-André Bouraine's Femme nue a la guirlande des fleurs from 1925; and two works by Josef Lorenzl, among others. There is a strong selection of ceramics in this auction, including a Fulper lamp circa 1910. This rare lamp is one of two known examples of a complex design depicting three dragonflies soaring over a pond studded with lilypads; the other example resides at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Other ceramic highlights include an early Van Briggle glazed earthenware Spider vase from 1902, and a rare 1907 Newcomb College glazed Crawfish plate decorated by Marie Levering Benson.
Season in and season out, Heritage has a strong reputation for Tiffany Studios and French glass from the turn of the last century. Tiffany highlights in this auction include this leaded glass and bronze Peony Border floor lamp, this leaded glass and gilt bronze Drophead Dragonfly table lamp, and this Favrile glass and gilt bronze twelve-light Lily Floor lamp. And offerings from across the pond include this rare Daum enameled and acid-etched glass Rain table lamp; this large Gallé mold-blown Cameo glass Plum vase; and this pair of rare R. Lalique for D'Orsay clear and frosted glass Leurs Âmes Tiara perfume bottles. With more than 400 works on offer, Heritage's May 25 Pursuit of Beauty event extends and expands the house's relationship to this favorite collector category. Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/8121. Works can be viewed by appointment May 22-24 at Heritage's Dallas location.