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Tapio Wirkkala and Dorothy Hafner Vase for Rosenthal
About the Item
- Dimensions:Height: 6.3 in (16 cm)Diameter: 9.26 in (23.5 cm)
- Style:Post-Modern (Of the Period)
- Materials and Techniques:
- Place of Origin:
- Date of Manufacture:1980s
- Condition:Wear consistent with age and use.
- Seller Location:Oslo, NO
- Reference Number:1stDibs: LU154024136453
Along with architect Alvar Aalto, the designer Tapio Wirkkala was Finland’s leading contributor to the Scandinavian interpretation of modernism in the mid-20th century. Prolific and innovative, Wirkkala excelled in a wide range of fields, including glass, furniture, porcelain, jewelry and tableware. The hallmark of his talent was an ability to impart a craft aesthetic based on natural forms — leaves, ice, bubbles, birds — to industrially produced designs.
A native of Helsinki, Wirkkala studied at the national School of Applied Arts and took up a career in graphic design. After serving in the Finnish army during World War II, he joined the glassmaking firm Iittala, an association that would continue to the end of his life. Wirkkala learned every aspect of glassmaking in keeping with his belief that an artist-designer should be involved in all stages of production. His best-known works for Iittala are vases and drinking vessels that resemble either carved ice or icicles. In 1956, Wirkkala began a long relationship with the porcelain maker Rosenthal, for whom he designed elegant table pieces, such as the Finlandia coffee service and the biomorphic Pollo vases.
House Beautiful magazine declared Wirkkala’s Leaf platter the “most beautiful object” of 1951. (The acclaim led to his brief employment stint with industrial designer Raymond Loewy in New York.) That platter was one of the first designs Wirkkala made using laminated sheets of plywood sanded to a smooth surface that resembles an abstract leaf. It would go on to become a motif in many Wirkkala furniture pieces — most notably in inlaid coffee tables for Asko — and in a sense these are the works most emblematic of his personal aesthetic.
Wirkkala was a traditionalist in many ways, but he had a modernist’s practical approach, incorporating his leaf-like spirals into simple, functional objects. That is the core attraction of Wirkkala’s designs: They stand out with a striking, sculptural energy yet blend in as part of a warm and comfortable decor.
Find vintage Tapio Wirkkala furniture on 1stDibs.
While the Rosenthal Porcelain Factory grew from humble decorating roots — as many pottery companies do — it eventually built a list of universally revered designer and artist partners that included Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí. And after securing an enviable position as a top manufacturer of serveware and dominating the porcelain and bone china markets, Rosenthal expanded into furniture production, working with influential designers Verner Panton, Luigi Colani and Günther Ferdinand Ris and Herbert Selldorf.
German-born Jewish businessman Philipp Rosenthal founded the company in 1879 in Bavaria. It began as his modest workshop where he painted porcelain and encountered success with porcelain ashtrays. Rosenthal hired the best designers and clay modelers he could find. Adolf Oppel designed figurative Art Nouveau pieces, while Eleonore (Lore) Friedrich-Gronau produced decorative objects, namely her graceful porcelain dancer figurines, for the company.
Dinnerware, though, would be a Rosenthal mainstay. Between 1904 and 1910, Rosenthal produced its renowned dinnerware lines such as Donatello, Darmstadt and Isolde. These were introduced as unornamented white pieces — only later were they given their underglaze designs.
Rosenthal founder Philipp, a Catholic of Jewish ancestry, resigned in 1934 as the company’s president due to pressures owing to discriminatory German laws that took shape during the rise of the Nazi regime. Rosenthal died in 1937, and the family fled to America. The company would not regain its footing until 1950 when Rosenthal’s son, Philip, joined the firm and, in 1958, became chairman and dubbed Germany’s “China King.” At its peak, the company had 10,000 employees.
In the 1950s, Rosenthal’s modernist dinnerware was a significant part of the brand’s offerings, and by 1961 they introduced the famed Rosenthal Studio Line. Although furniture designers and ceramicists would lead the list of individuals working with Rosenthal — among them Tapio Wirkkala, Max Weber and Lisa Larson — the company eventually reached out to fine artists, not only Dalí and Warhol but Sandro Chia and Kenny Scharf. Rosenthal also collaborated with fashion designers Gianni Versace and Donatella Versace.
In a daring move in 1972, the company diversified into furniture, collaborating with some of the giants of mid-century modern design. The revolutionary Sunball chair, an icon of Space Age seating crafted by Selldorf and Ris, was among Rosenthal’s stellar successes in this venture.
Shipping & Returns
- ShippingRetrieving quote...Ships From: Oslo, Norway
- Return Policy
This item cannot be returned.
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