Swedish Crystal Vase, Copper-Wheel Engraved Nude Man, 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 man holding a lyre, presumably Orpheus, sitting upon a stylized rock, surrounded by water. 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!).

The base is signed Värends Konstglas (which means "art glass"), E.W. 56, for Emil Weidlich and style number 56, so that's rather early in his production. It is a medium-sized piece, 7.5" x 3" x 5", and it weighs almost 4 pounds. It has the tiniest of fleabites to one upper corner and expected wear to its base. It is in truly remarkable condition for its age.

Legend tells the tale of Orpheus, the son of Apollo, whose “rich clear words and the silvery notes from his harp were so enchanting that they … had a magical effect on everything around him. His songs could charm even rocks and rivers as well as humans and animals."

Tack! (Thanks!)

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