Simon Gate (Swedish, 1883–1945)
Javanese Dancer Footed Bowl, engraved by Arthur Diessner for Orrefors, c. 1959
hand blown, copper-wheel engraved glass
10.75 inches high (27 cm)
12 inches in diameter at the rim (30 cm)
13 pounds (6 kg)
This is a statement piece, for sure. It is larger than any other engraved piece of glass I've ever seen. Blowing it must've been a particularly arduous task, as was holding it against the spinning copper wheels to engrave the motif. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including early thirties, when this piece was designed, there was a growing interest in "Oriental" cultures in Europe. Troupes of dancers from places like Java and Cambodia would tour and perform to the delight of the Europeans. They had a great impact on the artists .
Simon Gate was a glass maker and designer for Orrefors Glass Factory. He studied at the College of Technology in Stockholm and the Academy of Art where he studied painting. In 1916, when he was working as a graphic designer, he was recruited by the Orrefors director Albert Ahlin. His early years at Orrefors were spent developing two techniques: Graal, in which coloured glass is embodied in the body of the piece, and engraving. His style was conservative drawing on traditional classical European models. He did, however, introduce a new range of colours into the Orrefors repertoire. His energy was prodigious but his style remained basically unchanged. He stayed with Orrefors for thirty years and died at the age of sixty two, suddenly and unexpectedly in May 1945.
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