Austrian, 1871 - 1954
Austrian, 1874 - 1960
Wiener Keramik/Gmunder Keramik, manufacturer (Austria)
Vase, c. 1906
H. 8 1/2 x Dia. 4 in.
Michael Powolny received early training as a potter at his father's company in Judenburg-Steiermark at the Sommerhuber Company in Steyr, Austria. In 1906 he and Berthold Löffler founded the Wiener Keramik (Viennese Pottery) studio (which was transferred to the Gmundener Keramik six years later). Its founding coincides with the Wiener Werkstätte's purist phase and this vase serves as a fine example of the restraint found in their earliest designs. For its time, it is almost defiantly chaste. Familiar historical and naturalistic motifs used throughout the 19th century have been totally eliminated. Form, color and decoration are reduced to the absolute minimum: vertical black bars running the length of a uniform cylinder. The vase remains as contemporary today as it was when it was first produced in 1906.
Powolny and Löffler were instructors in the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Applied Arts) and both designed works for the Wiener Werkstätte. In their collaborations, Powolny was responsible for form, Löffler for applied graphics. As with this vessel, their designs were totally integrated, form and decoration becoming one.