Swedish Crystal Vase, Copper-Wheel Engraved Nude Woman, Värends Konstglas, Emil Weidlich, 1940's

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Swedish artist Emil Weidlich, 1895-1986, engraved this handblown crystal vase with a dramatic figure of a nude woman holding a fish, presumably caught by hand, standing upon a stylized wave. It is a typical Weidlich motif, as he was highly influenced by the Art Deco movement, and his mentor, Simon Gate, taught him the value and the timelessness of a nude. (I'm not as sure about the timelessness of the hair style...) Careful treatment of the musculature, all created by pressing the glass against spinning copper wheels, is another Weidlich hallmark.

Weidlich was educated as a glass "carver" at the Steinschönau Glass School (Kamenický Šenov), founded in the 16th century in the current Czech Republic. He was recruited by the pioneering Swedish designer, Simon Gate, in 1922, to work at the Orrefors glass mill. There he worked closely with Gate for almost a decade. In 1931 he joined Elme Glasbruk as a leader of an engraving workshop and remained there until 1942. He executed his own engravings on his own models, but also engravings of former designers, such as Edvin Ollers. In 1942, he started his own company, Värends Konstglas, at which he worked until the age of 85. The business was located in Älmhult, Sweden (home to the first IKEA store!).

This vase is big, 5.25" x 3.25" x 11.75" (133mm x 83mm x 300mm), and it weighs 6.35 pounds (2.88kg). It has a small internal flaw in the base that I just saw while photographing it (see photos 7 and 8). I have had it on display for years, and I've never noticed it before. I have washed and dried it inside and out several times with warm (not hot) water and mild oxygenated dish soap. Like any glass, the vase should not be subjected to extreme temperature changes. Considering that it is more than 60 years old, it is in remarkable condition. Please let me know if you have questions or concerns, but I am quite certain that, absent neglectful handling, this piece of Swedish art history will live on for another sixty years.

Tack! (Thanks!)

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