Pallme-König

Jugendstil's love affair with shape
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Click on the numbers under each picture to see a larger version

Written by Alfredo Villanueva-Collado, Ph.D.

Photos © Abersio Núñez

 

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Photo 20: two pieces from a family of vessels characterized by opalescent glass, hand blown or cut from the top, with pink (11½), green (13") or orange spotting at the bottom, and vertical maroon or green trailings. The glass is much lighter than in other Pallme-König’s lines. Photo 21: a 10 ¾ vessel in clear glass with golden amber spotting and vertical maroon trailings; see Brohan 202:293; PMC IV.290 for other examples from this line. Photo 22: the same body shape in 10.1/4" clear glass, pink spotting and metal green trailings around the wider collar (PMC IV: 299, smaller version). Photo 23: a 13" milk white-over-orange vase with pink spotting and trailings. Case 245 at the Passau Museum contains several versions of these three types of PK decorations.

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Photo 24 shows a spectacular 13" vase in grayish-white over pink, with blue red and green random spotting, red vertical drips and PK’s signature sheared and pulled "ears"(see Brohan 202:293 for another decorative treatment in the same shape; PMC IV:301 for same decoration in another shape). Vases from this line appear as Loetz in some of the most outstanding European collections.

The PMC IV. 292 shows a vase in purple glass with encrusted "frit" (crushed glass) decoration. In case 245 at the Passau Museum there is a green variant with random vertical trailings in addition to frit. Photo 25 shows an 11½" decanter with the same decoration in clear glass with amber/gold spotting and clear frit and trailings. An identical decanter was classified as "Loetz" by Gisela Fiedler-Bender in the Gruber Collection’s catalogue, 62:122.

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Jan Mergl adds a note to his description of PMC IV:412, which is classified under "Anonymous production": "On the ground of comparison of shapes and decors it can be ascertained that vases IV:407-412 were produced by the same glassworks. The Passau Museum has other vessels in other shapes that exhibit the same décor" (trans. By E. Scheepers). PMC IV.410-411, which I have classified above as PK, are included (Photos 8,9).

Photos 26-27 show three vases. 10 3/4", 7 ¾" and 10 ¼", from the same line as PMC IV.407 and 409. Following Mergl’s lead, they could be Pallme-König, (though the combination of green and brick-red or maroon glass seems to me more akin to Rindskopf, in which case not all of these vessels in the PMC highlighted by Mergl can be attributed to one manufacturer). PK26S.jpg (6941 bytes) PK27S.jpg (4593 bytes)
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Oil lamps often appear with tanks in characteristic PK green threaded glass. Photo 28 shows an 7.5" "owl" lighter also appearing in Truitt 104:4; photo 29, a 6" high PK shade in opalescent green glass cased in light green; and Photo 30, a rare PK ruby red threaded lamp dome on an unsigned Austrian base. The lamp measures 20"; the dome, 5" high and 12" in diameter. A word on lampshades: most of those being sold as Loetz were made by other manufacturers, including Kralik, Rindskopf and Pallme-König.

As I readied to write this article, I was struck by the fact that PKs constitute the smallest group of vases in my collection, maybe reflecting my preference for scarce, tall PK vases, A quick check on E-Bay brought out the startling fact that out of 124 listings, only one was, and could be, attributed to Pallme-König. There are particular stumbling blocks to collecting Pallme-König in the USA. The more unusually-shaped vessels may not have survived the passage of time, or transportation. Maybe it was not imported into the USA as much; Truitt’s examples are for the most part small and unattractive. Dealers have repeatedly told me there is "no market" for PK, and major international auction houses so far have by and large ignored its existence. In my experience, it is easier to get a camel through the eye of a needle than to convince some dealers that their merchandise is other than Loetz. The standard commonplace justification: it’s impossible to discriminate between pieces because "everybody" was imitating Loetz.

Prices for Pallme-König pieces in the American market vary depending of correct attribution. If sold as Loetz, they tend to be priced accordingly. I recently saw a red hyacinth vase about 10", going for $600 as "old Loetz." On E-bay, inflated prices sometimes come with hidden damage, not mentioned in the description. It happened with the "cardiac vase," sold to me as "Loetz" with no structural damage. It was the first time I had bought a PK through E-Bay. I had to contact the dealer who, luckily and honorably, agreed to a partial restitution of the price. The lesson: PK is not the kind of glass I will ever purchase from a photograph, no matter how enticing.

Berlin’s Brohan Collection holds a large and quite complete sample of PK vessels. So far its catalogue, and the PMC, Band IV, serve as the most thorough sources for documenting Pallme-König, but the information may be subject to change. The PK collection at the Passau Museum, though smaller than its Loetz, Kralik or Rindskopf holdings, contains some astonishing vases, whose designs foreshadow the aesthetic direction of XXth century art glass production, with an emphasis on form over decoration. For this reason, and for its beautiful, unusual, organic glass shapes, Pallme-König deserves a place in any serious collection of Czech Jugendstil.

 

WORKS CITED

Adlerová, Alena. Czechoslovakian Glass 1350-1980. Corning, N.Y.: The Corning Museum of Glass, 1981.

---et.al. Das Böhmishe Glass 1750-1900. Band IV, Jugendstil in Böhmen. Passau:

Passauer Glasmuseum, 1995. [PMC. See also Band V: Jugendstil in Bayern und Schlesien].

Bröhan, Karl H. Sammlung Bröhan II: Kunsthandwork 1. Berlin: Karl H. Bröhan, 1976

Fiedler-Bender, Gisela. Jugendstil. Sammlung H.R. Gruber, Pirmasens. Pfalzgalerie Kaiserstaslutern Oct.-Nov. 1983.

Hilschenz, Helga. Das Glas des Jugendstils: Dusseldorf, 1973.

Nedblake, Wes and Kathy Foster. "How Can You Tell If It’s Loetz?" Czechoslovakian Collectors Guild International 1,3 (Autumn 1995): 8-14.

Pazaurek, Gustav E. and Walter Spiegel. Glass des 20. Jahrhunderts Jugendstil. Art Deco. München: Klinkhardt & Biermann, 1983

Truitt, Robert and Deborah. Collectible Bohemian Glass I: 1880-1940. Kengsinton, MD.: B&D GLASS, 1995.

Villanueva-Collado Alfredo. "Kralik: Unraveling the Mysteries," www.loetz.com , 2000.

---. "Rindskopf: A Reevaluation," www.loetz.com ,2000.

Wichmann, Sigfried. Internationales Jugendstilglas. Vorformen Moderner Kunst.  Munich: Ausst. Kat. Museum Stuck- Villa, 1969.

---. Jugendstil Art Nouveau: Floral and Functional Forms. New York: Little, Brown and Co, 1985.

And my thanks to Jeff Weller for providing me with an invaluable photographic record of the Loetz, Kralik, Rindskopf and Pallme-König collections at the Passau Museum.

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