Michael Powolny (1871-1954): Figures of Neptune and Venus
In a crackled white glazed earthenware, raised on later custom made white painted wood pedestals.
Neptune 4 ft. 1/2 x 19 x 10 1/2 in.
Venus 47 x 17 1/2 x 14 in.
Note: Michael Powolny an Austrian designer, teacher and celebrated ceramic artist was, with his friend Josef Hoffmann, one of the key figures in the Wiener Werkstatte, a seminal group promoting the development of modern design. Powolny designed the two figures in the above offered lot for the Dianabad Bath House in Vienna. The Bruder Schwadron in Vienna provided all of the architectural ceramic furnishings for the bath house, including 8 of the Neptune sculptures. In the luxurious Dianabad, Neptune was displayed in the mosaic covered niches set high in the walls around the tiled splendor of the gentleman's bath. The Dianabad and the adjourning hotel were both severely damaged during the second World War and were later demolished.
A pair of Powolny's Neptune figures were on display at the MAK, The Austrian Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna in 2014, during their exhibition on The Schwadron Brothers. Ref: E. Frottier, Michael Powolny, Keramik und Glas aus Wein 1900-1950, cat. raisonné 198, ill. 54, 55; T Zickler (ed), Bruder Schwadron, Neue Orte & Spuren, Vienna, 2014, p. 19-123.
Powolny also designed wall tiles for the Theater und Kaberett Fliedermaus, in Vienna. And the famous Palla Athene sculpture for the Palais Stoclet, a Vienna Secession style mansion in Brussels which Josef Hoffmann designed, where it greets visitors from its lofty perch above the entry pavilion.
Provenance:H.M. Luther Antiques, NY.
This rare pair is generally, in good overall condition. The Neptune has a sizeable old repair on the reverse of the base with chips to one fish tail. Firing imperfections, scattered staining and crazing throughout. A shallow hairline on the front of the base. Venus has a sizeable firing crack on her right leg and a smaller one on the drapery. Small areas of glaze lifting on the base near her feet. Minor blue spots resulting from glazing imperfections. Both with nicks on the rim of the base resulting from pooling glaze. The bases have scattered scuffing on the tops with minor nicks. Impressive scale.
Not withstanding this report or any discussion concerning condition of a lot, all lots are offered and sold "as is" in accordance with our conditions of sale.
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