The Masters

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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.

Design: 1908 by E. Prochaska, (JO)

II - 5169, 1907, design attr. to E. Prochaska, © JO

Franz Hofstötter  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 decor.  Click here for two more examples.

"The technical virtuosity achieved at the Loetz glassworks was initially displayed in a series of three windows, a collaboration between Spaun and Hofstötter. At the time, Hofstötter 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 Hofstötter's visions. The artistic success of this project was continued with Hofstötter's contributions to the resulting Phanomen design series.
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."

Alden Jones
© AJ 2000

Titania thea mit amethyst (?) Ausf. 118, 1911, II - 7908, design: F. Hofstötter,   
© RH

Marie Kirschner
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 Nouveau shapes.
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"

Luna optisch, 1904, 1090/150, 
design: M. Kirschner, 
signed "MK", © JW

Adolph 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.

Grau Melusin mit blattgrün, 1910, unknown, decor: A. Beckert, © NW


rick 1 206 Hofmann.jpg (14985 bytes)

Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser.
"Koloman Moser, and his students, began providing designs to Loetz in the late 1800s, 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 in Vienna.

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 Werkstätte."
Alden Jones
  © AJ 2001

Opal with black stripes (Zebra decor) , 1903-1904, unknown, design: K. Moser. 
(© FK)
Opal Phänomen Gre. 358, 1900,
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 followed Hoffmann.
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

Left: brilliantopal mit rot, 1911, II - 8029.
Right: maigrün mit schwarz, 1912, II - 8127.
Form and design: J. Hoffmann,
© KH

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