Products from this producer offered by Prague Art & Design

Moser Bowl | ? ?Bowl with Amazones | ? ?Moser Vase | ? ?Moser Vase | ? ?Vase Moser | Moser Moser Vase | ? ?Moser Vase with Amazones | ? ?Moser Vase with Engraved Horse | ? ?Moser Vase with Engraved Flowers | ? ?Vase Moser  | ? ?Moser Vase with a Procession of Amazon Warriors | Moser Vase with Engraved Flowers | ? ?

The Moser glass enterprise was founded by Ludwig Moser (1833–1916), who was born in Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) into a Jewish family that had settled in the town in the 1820s. Moser apprenticed in the workshop of the noted glass engraver Andreas Mattoni, where he was subsequently employed for several years. In 1855, after perfecting his skills under other reputed glass engravers, he set up his own small glass-decorating workshop on the town’s promenade, selling souvenir glass objects to affluent spa visitors. There, he engraved beakers and goblets with an array of widely popular decorative motifs. He purchased the glass blanks from various manufacturers operating in Bohemia, such as the Harrach glassworks. Over the following decades, Ludwig Moser broadened the scope of his entrepreneurial activities, opening several prestigious shops, where he sold glassware decorated in the then fashionable Revival style. He employed Karlsbad’s finest glass engravers headed by Johann F. Hoffmann and also ventured into other glassmaking regions in an endeavour to commission further glass engravers. In the 1870s, he expanded his professional undertakings to include enamel-painted glassware that initially reflected the old German glass-decorating tradition and later incorporated the Oriental style. Soon, Moser products became a major commercial success. Moser glassware was exported all over the world, winning awards at influential international exhibitions, such as the world’s fairs held in Paris in 1878 and 1889 and Chicago in 1893. Of particularly high acclaim were the floral designs covering the entire glass surface, which became a distinctive Moser trademark. In the late 1880s, in response to the popularity of glass that imitated semi-precious stones, Moser began to manufacture agate, opal and onyx glassware. For the first thirty years of its existence, the Moser firm was supplied by glass blanks from the most accomplished glass manufacturers in the Czech lands. In the 1880s, Moser first considered the idea of building his own glassworks. He opened the plant in 1893 in the village of Dvory near Karlsbad, where he eventually moved the company’s entire glassmaking business. At the turn of the century, Moser’s sons Ludwig, Friedrich Gustav and Leo joined the company as its co-owners and over the period occupied a variety of posts in the firm. The company name was changed to Ludwig Moser & Sons. In the 1890s, the glassworks focused its output on time-tested Revival-style glass painted in enamels and conducted experiments with the iridescence technique of glass decorating. Contrary to the Lötz Witwe company, for example, this experimental work was not intended for the manufacturing of Tiffany-type products. Rather, iridescence was applied to enamelled shapes rendered in the Revival styles.

The onset of the Art Nouveau in the decorative arts could not be ignored. The Moser company embraced the style after showing its wares at the 1897 Brussels Exhibition, where it presented its staple product – cut glass. The most probable source of inspiration for this stylistic change was impelled by the glassware on display at the Brussels exhibition created by Val Saint Lambert, whose creative domain was cased and wheel-cut glass. Of equal significance for Moser’s future aesthetic orientation was the growing international reputation of the French Gallé and Daum glass factories based in Nancy. Rather than replicating glass produced by outstanding European plants, Moser & Sons decided to embark on a course of its own. At the 1900 Paris international exhibition, Moser introduced a new product line titled Karlsbader Secession, which creatively combined all the company’s techniques currently in use. The colour decoration, applied to colourless glass surfaces, assumed the form of leafy stems and blossoms, meticulously engraved to even include tiny carved insects around the flowers, with the delicate leaves painted in gold enamel. As this was a highly exacting luxury technique, only limited series were fashioned. The second type of glass ornamentation, shown at the Paris exhibition under the title Moderne Plastik, consisted of intaglio engraving of flower motifs into thick-walled clear or coloured glass. For the most part, this design method was used for angular vases whose shapes were molded further by the deep carving. The Moderne Plastik’s huge commercial success led the company to gradually expand its choice of designs. This was yet another uniquely original glass-decorating process that was inspired by no other model. In 1903, a striking element was added to it, whereby the applied flower motif wrapped around the edge of the vase.

Intarsia glass was an innovative glassmaking method devised in the early years of the 20th century: a design, such as a flower, was applied to a parison which was then engraved to assume its definitive form. The stems and leaves were wheel-cut.

The company’s next change in its stylistic orientation came about in the early 1920s, on the initiative of its technical director Leo Moser, who espoused the geometric Vienna Secession. He began collaborating with the Viennese artist Otto Tauschek, who designed layered-glass vases with acid-etched ornamentation inspired by Émile Gallé’s art glass.

After World War I, exquisite faceting became the principal feature of the company’s new lines of art glass. Leo Moser, who also held the post of artistic director from 1916, initiated a shift towards Neo-Classicism inspired by Classical, Empire and Biedermeier designs. Enhancing the natural beauty and glimmer of the richly coloured glass, the massive objects served as an ideal base for ‘oroplastic’ ornamentation, which consisted of designs etched in low relief and painted with fired and polished gold. The most commonly used ornamental features were bands graced with amazon warriors, satyrs and nymphs. It was expressly the quality and wide range of coloured glass that encouraged Wiener Werkstätte artists, including Josef Hoffmann, to seek Moser to realize their designs. During the post-war period, most of the glass company’s designs were still being created anonymously by its employees. Leo Moser, who himself authored a great many glass shapes and decorative schemes, felt the need to establish collaboration with young designers. The first among them was Rudolf Wels who specialized in ‘oroplastic’ motifs inspired by the Oriental style and the exotic animal realm. Prior to the International Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts to open in Paris in 1925, Moser intensified his creative partnership with artist designers. A number of excellent designs were made by Leo’s niece Lotte Moser, who had graduated from the Dresden Art Academy. Her patterns were intended to highlight the beauty of the massive glass objects and the virtuosic wheel-cutting technique. Other glass exhibits were designed by students of the School of Applied Arts in Prague, among them Ludvika Smrčková. Moser’s success achieved at the Paris Exhibition strengthened the firm’s position among the world’s manufacturers of luxury glassware and confirmed that its close cooperation with artist designers had been a correct decision.

In the second half of the 1920s, the Dutch artist Chris Lebau designed glass objects for Moser that included hot-formed thin-walled vases and barrel-shaped bowls and jardinières, decorated at the furnace with crackling, iridizing and rolling in tiny glass particles. Each product was a one-of-a-kind piece, marked with the artist’s signature and a number, which was otherwise an uncustomary practice in Moser’s glass production and was short-lived. Quite the contrary was the firm’s collaboration with designers of glassware series. The graphic artist Heinrich Hussmann, a graduate of the art academy in Leipzig, was no doubt the most prolific glass series designer. Hussmann specialized in deeply-etched thick-walled monochrome glass, particularly floral motifs and naturalistic scenes rendered in the increasingly popular Art Deco style. Another of his favoured techniques involved innovative cuts of thick-walled glass that were to augment the beauty of the types of glasses developed by the company during the latter part of the 1920s, such as Heliolite and Alexandrite. Hussmann designed what in his day were unusual diagonal, asymmetrical and irregular cuts, which in some cases imbued his glass objects with an almost amorphous appearance. Alexandr Pfohl, who taught at the Specialized School of Glassmaking in Bor near Česká Lípa, one of Leo Moser’s collaborating centres, designed remarkable cut coloured glass. In the late 1920s and early 1930, apart from the standard Revival-style engravings, colourless glass was also carved with interesting Art Deco motifs and scenes from daily life. These designs were produced by Heinrich Sattler, who focused on both traditional themes and highly contemporary motifs, such as sports.

In 1932, the firm’s newly appointed artistic director after Leo Moser was Rudolf Eischler under whose tenure Art Deco was replaced with the Functionalist style. Based on his designs were glass pieces of austere geometric shapes and a transparency that allowed a view of the object’s inner wall through its thick outer layers. Arnold Zadikow designed similar items. During World War II, the glass enterprise was nationalized and formally attached to the Staatlische Porzellanmanufaktur Berlin. The firm became the pride of the German glass industry and despite its various economic difficulties, it was not forced to curb its operation in any way. Among noteworthy designers of the time was Wolfgang von Wersin, who conducted experiments in diverse methods of glass cutting and Franz Woight, who derived his designs from the Neo-Classical trends of the 1920s and the artwork of the Wiener Werkstätte.

Following the war, the company was nationalized once again. Thanks to its exclusive reputation, its German glass specialists were not expelled from the country, contrary to the practice in other borderland regions. Its glass manufacture therefore continued uninterrupted and shortly afterwards its managers opened an educational centre for training its own future employees. The firm’s contacts with eminent pre-war markets were re-established and its production and commercial activities gained momentum. However, its further development was dramatically curtailed by the political events following the Communist takeover in 1948. The government’s preference of heavy industry led to a labour force outflow from the glassmaking industry. All of Moser’s outlets in Czechoslovakia were closed and the arrangement of contracts with foreign countries came under the administration of the state-owned, bureaucratic Skloexport trading company, a measure that thwarted Moser’s long-established and well-advanced commercial relations. Fortunately, a few years later, the authorities responsible came to realize the importance of this prestigious glass company. Moser’s products could thus preserve their mark of exclusivity both in the domestic market and abroad, where its glassware became a sort of window case of Socialist Czechoslovakia’s industrial accomplishments. Moser continues to manufacture its traditional product lines and designs, untouched by passing voguish trends. In the 1950s, the glassworks began to collaborate with renowned Czech glass artists, such as Ludvika Smrčková, Věra Lišková, Adolf Matura, Pavel Hlava and Jitka Forejtová, on limited glass collections. While these objects served to superbly represent the Czechoslovak state at various international competitions and exhibitions, only seldom were they put into serial production. Among Moser’s most sought-after glass articles today are glass items and decorations that originated in the 1920s.