Orrefors Vicke Lindstrand 1938 Christ on the Cross, Engraved on Simon Gate-Designed Swedish Crystal Vase

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Designed by Vicke (Viktor Emanuel) Lindstrand in 1934, and copper-wheel engraved by Ragnar Rosenstam in 1938, this hand blown glass vase was on the cutting edge of a new design movement in Sweden in the early 20th century. In place of the traditional filigree and flourishes that filled engraved glass from earlier artists, Lindstrand employed powerful central figures, using human and animal subjects. Lindstrand designed the wonderfully powerful rendering of Jesus Christ on the Cross, made more astounding by its size of only about 2." This is among his earliest designs, and though it has a few small scratches, after eighty-two years, the story it tells shines through. Simon Gate created this thicker, freeform glass vase design, another groundbreaking innovation in the world of Swedish art glass. You can see his mark in the center.

Vicke Lindstrand (1904-1983) was born in Goteborg, Sweden, and started his career with Orrefors in 1928, where he remained until 1940. He pioneered daring art glass designs at Orrefors, and together with designer Edvin Öhrström and master engraver Knut Bergqvist, he invented the Ariel technique. The tales of his departure vary, but it is known that he was under an agreement not to work in glass for a decade. Between 1943 and 1950 he became creative leader at Uppsala Ekeby, where he designed many different stoneware objects ranging from pots to figural sculptures. In 1950 he joined Kosta Glasbruk as an artistic director. He was the dominant designer until his retirement in 1973, lending his name to many now classic designs. As a glass designer, textile and ceramic designer, and painter, he is considered a pioneer of Swedish art. (He is also my favorite Swedish artist, and the one whose work I collect most.)

This beautiful vase is small, 4" x 4" x 4.125" (102mm x 102mm x 105mm), and it weighs 1 pound (0.46 kg).
The style code 1342 tells me it was designed in 1934, as it appears in Orrefors Catalog 9. The production date code A4 means that this particular vase was made in 1938, and the engravers mark that looks like a double R belongs to Ragnar Rosenstam, who worked at Orrefors from 1921-1964. Wow.

This is a truly special piece, the only one of its kind I've ever seen.

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