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Bohemian Glass

Loetz

Klášterský Mlýn Glassworks 

 In Southern Bohemia, in the town of Klostermühle

today part of the Czech Republic

 (The History below is from the website www.loetz.com)

Loetz Factory

In 1836, Johann Eisner established a glassworks in the Southern Bohemian town of Klostermühle, today part of the Czech Republic and called Klášterský Mlýn. His heirs sold the glassworks to Martin Schmid in 1849, and two years later Schmid sold it to Frank Gerstner, attorney-at-law, and his wife Susanne. Susanne was the widow (‘Witwe’ in German) of Johann Loetz, a glassmaker about whom we know very little.

Gerstner transferred sole ownership to Susanne shortly before his death in 1855, and she successfully led and expanded the company during the subsequent 20 years, manufacturing mainly crystal, overlay and painted glass.
 

In 1879, Susanne transferred the company – now called ‘Johann Loetz Witwe’ – to Maximilian von Spaun, the son of her daughter Karoline. One year later, von Spaun hired Eduard Prochaska and the two of them modernized the factory and introduced new, patented techniques and processes.

The Historicist Period:

     The first fruits of this collaboration were exciting innovations in Historicism glass, including Intarsia and Octopus glass and the very popular marbled (‘marmorisierte’) glass which imitated semi-precious stones like red chalcedony, onyx and malachite. Success at exhibitions in Brussels, Munich and Vienna were crowned by awards at the Paris World’s Exposition in 1889.

In 1897, von Spaun first saw Tiffany Favrile glass exhibited in Bohemia and Vienna, and this convinced him that the art nouveau style was also the way to go for Loetz Witwe. The next eight years were to be the most artistically significant and profitable period in the entire history of the company.

Loetz Paris Expo 1900

The glassworks created large numbers of its own new designs of iridescent, trailing art nouveau glass, sometimes in collaboration with well-known artists and designers like Marie Kirschner and Franz Hofstötter (aka Franz Hofstätter). The zenith of Loetz art nouveau glass was epitomized by the so-called Phänomen series of designs, much of it designed by Hofstötter, which won a Grand Prix (alongside Tiffany, Gallé, Daum and Lobmeyr) at the Paris World’s Exposition in 1900.

The company’s success during this period had two prime drivers – the technical expertise of Prochaska and the business acumen of von Spaun. Loetz Witwe created many of its own designs, and also supplied glass commissioned by major customers like E. Bakolowits (Vienna) and Max Emanuel (London).

The Dawn of Art Deco – a Difficult Transition:

     Although 1904 saw yet another award, a Grand Prix at the St. Louis World’s Fair, sales started to lose momentum as interest in Phänomen glass waned. New artistic impulses were needed to compensate for a lack of in-house innovation, and Loetz Witwe intensified its collaboration with Viennese designers like Leopold Bauer, Otto Prutscher and Josef Hoffmann before, in 1909, appointing Adolf Beckert – a specialist for etched decoration as its new artistic director. In the same year, von Spaun transferred management of the glassworks to his son, Maximilian Robert.

Maximilian Robert was less effective n managing the glassworks than his father had been, and financial problems worsened culminating in Loetz Witwe declaring bankruptcy in 1911. Injections of von Spaun family money and the continuing efforts of Prochaska meant that the glassworks could still operate, noticeably with etched designs by Hoffmann, Hans Bolek and Carl Witzmann, but the company was dealt another blow when Beckert left in 1913. The new etched designs plus newly introduced Tango glass were shown at the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition in 1914, but then came the doubly blow of a major fire at the glassworks and the outbreak of the First World War.

Loetz Fire

The Decline and Fall of Loetz:

     After the war, temporary respite was achieved thanks to the production of popular colored opal glass, but then unavoidable investments in renovation of the glassworks in 1920 led to new financial problems. Lacking new ideas, Loetz Witwe reverted to adapting its old, art nouveau decors to the art deco style, and to making old-fashioned and low-quality cameo glass and glass animals; but sales continued to decline.

The Great Depression in the late twenties and another fire in 1930 hit the company hard, and during the thirties the glassworks changed ownership several times, often had to close down for long periods and finally declared bankruptcy once more in 1939, following the German invasion of Czechoslovakia. The glassworks manufactured utilitarian glassware for the Third Reich throughout the war, but then ultimately closed down completely in 1947.           

Loetz Glass

 Loetz Carrageen

 

Loetz Creta Chine - Green Glass Rose Bowl

               

 

 

Loetz Creta, mit Behangen (with Hangings).  Production number II-64 ca, 1900

Photo courtesy of Deb Ftizsimmons Collection
 

Loetz Creta, mit Behangen (with Hangings)

Photo courtesy of Deb Ftizsimmons Collection
 

 

Loetz Diaspora

Loetz Candia Diasporia Silberiris

 

Loetz Candia Diasporia Silberiris in a rose bowl form. ca. 1900

 

Loetz Diasporia Pink in a rose bowl form. ca. 1900

Photos courtesy of Kralik-glass.com

 

 

Loetz Diasporia Pink in a blue bowl form. ca. 1900

Photos courtesy of Kralik-glass.com

 

Loetz Empire Bowl

 

Loetz Formosa

 

Loetz Candia Mimosa

Photo courtesy of Deb Ftizsimmons Collection
 

 

Loetz Octopus (aka: Federzeichnung), ca.1887

 Insert photos here.

 

Loetz Phänomen Genre 29,  with an M Crimp

Photos courtesy of Kralik-glass.com
 

Loetz Phänomen Genre  299 ('Tricolor') ca. 1900

 

Photos courtesy of Tony Abbate
 

 

Loetz Phänomen Genre 351 ca. 1902

 

  

 

Loetz Phänomen Genre 2/351, also know as Argus,  ca. 1902

  

Photos courtesy of Kralik-glass.com
 

Loetz Phänomen Genre 7624,  with an M Crimp

 

 

 

Loetz Phänomen Genre 7773,  with an M Crimp

Photo courtesy of Loetz.com
 

 

Loetz Phänomen Genre 7773,  Normal Crimp

 

Loetz Phänomen Genre 7993, Normal Crimp

 

Loetz Rusticana

 

 

Loetz Candia Papillon

 

Loetz Creta Papillon, with an M Crimp 

  

  

 

Loetz Titania, a Tri-fold form Rose Bowl with enameling 4” ca. 1895,  

 

Loetz (possibly Harrach or Moser?) Pillow Vase in cranberry glass with applied clear glass feet and nice simple enameling not to Moser’s quality.

   

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