Wiener Werkstätte

LÖFFLER (Bertold) - SCHWERDTNER (Carl Maria)

Kriegsmedaillon zugunsten der Wiener Invalidenschulen. Bildhauer C. M. Schwerdtner. Maler Bert. Löffler.

Vienna, Wiener Werkstätte & Christoph Reisser’s Söhne, 1915.

Metal war medal sculpted by Carl Maria Schwerdtner.

Allegorical composition on each side, with the signature of the artist and date 1914-1915 on one side and the inscription “Gott viribus mit uns unitis” on the other; preserved in its original square grey paper box (63 x 63 mm) with the monogram WW (Wiener Werkstätte) and the names of the artists, interior of dark blue cloth paper, small rectangular gold paper label with the inscription “Zugunsten der Wiener Invalidenschulen”.

The medal opens to reveal a small book made up of twelve paper medallions (diameter 50 mm), connected by a white silk ribbon, alternating text and image, recto-verso printing; the interior sides of the medal also feature a paper medallion with text.

12 original colour lithographs by Bertold Löffler echo 14 war-themed poems by Austrian writers: Ottokar Kernstock, Gerhard Hauptmann, Heinrich Lersch, Richard Dehmel, Franz Karl Ginzkey, Rud. Alex. Schröder, Paul Zech, Anton Wildgans, Ludwig Ganghofer, H. Zuckermann, Hugo v. Hoffmannsthal, Richard Nordhausen, Richard Schaukal, and Peter Rosegger.

Rare testimony of the war-themed production of the Wiener Werkstätte it was sold for the benefit of the Viennese schools for disabled students.

Berthold Löffler (1874-1960), Austrian painter, printmaker, designer, and ceramicist. After being taught to draw at the Gewerbemuseum in Reichenberg from 1890 to 1900, he studied drawing at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna under Franz von Matsch, Carl Otto Czeschka, and Kolo Moser. In 1909, he was appointed teacher at the Kunststickereischule in Vienna, and from 1909 to 1935, he was professor at the Kunstgewerbeschule. In 1906 he founded the Wiener Keramik with Michael Powolny. The firm contributed tiles for Josef Hoffmann’s Palais Stoclet in Brussels (1905–11). From 1907, the Wiener Werkstätte took over the distribution and sale of their vases, figurines, boxes, and tiles, selling them also in Germany. In 1913, the Wiener Keramik merged with the Künstlerische Werkstätte Franz und Emilie Schleiss in Gmunden to form the Vereinigte Wiener und Gmundner Keramik. In collaborative works by Löffler and Powolny, it is often very difficult to establish who did different aspects. Löffler preferred to provide the often fanciful designs, leaving the modelling to other assistants. In 1907, he collaborated on the decoration and furnishing of Kabarett Fledermaus, his contribution included a poster, illustrations for the first programme sheet, the entrance ticket, and a fan. He also provided designs for jewellery and postcards for the Wiener Werkstätte and designed the posters for the Kunstschau of 1908 and the Internationale Kunstschau of 1909 in Vienna. Bertold Löffler produced much graphic work involving books, ex-libris, designs for banknotes, securities, postage stamps, calendars, etc.

Karl Maria Schwerdtner (1874-1916), Austrian sculptor and medallist. He studied at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien [Academy of Fine Arts] with professors E. Hellmer and C. v. Zumbuch; his father, a medallist and a sculptor, passed his know-how to him. During a stay in Paris, the sculptor and medallist Alexandre Charpentier welcomed him into his studio. The artist exhibited several works at the International Medal Exhibition of the American Numismatic Society in New York in March 1910. He designed several tombs as well as the Priessnitz monument in Türckenschanz Park (with the architect A. Weber, 1911). He was a member of the Künstlerhaus.

In very good condition.

Ref. Werner J. Schweiger, Wiener Werkstätte, 1903-1932, p. 105 (with illustration in black)