(active c. 1900)

Ball-shaped vase with feet

c. 1910
Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt

Physical chemistry, which had emerged as a new discipline around 1870, provided the foundation for the delicate lustre and iridescent glassware issuing from Loetz' Witwe. The natural scientists became artists, producing in their laboratories the new and fascinating colour effects which lend the amorphously curved glass their charm.

This vase was produced by the Glasfabrik Johann Loetz Witwe, Klostermühle, Bohemia (today Czech Republic). The Bohemian glass factory was founded in 1836 by Johann Eisner von Eisenstein in Klostermühle in the Bohemian forest. In 1851, Dr Franz Gerstner and his wife Susanne Lötz-Gerstner (b 1809), who had previously been married to Johann Lötz (1778-1848), bought the factory. From 1858 the company was named, and in 1863 registered, as Lötz Witwe (Lötz or Loetz widow). In 1878, the factory exhibited a range of coloured glass at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Over the next two decades, the factory was substantially enlarged, and by 1891 the company employed 200 glassworkers, 36 cutters and 30 glass painters.

From the 1890s, the factory specialized in the production of Jugendstil glass. The influence of Louis Comfort Tiffany and Emile Gallé, whose work was shown at the 1897 glass exhibition in Reichenberg, is evident in the new forms and shapes and the use of a variety of colours iridized with gold and silver.

The company's success was briefly revived during the 1920s, but it had serious financial difficulties under various owners until it was finally closed in 1947.

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