Factory: Zelezny Brod Sklo (attributed)
Designer: Jaroslav Kodejs (attributed)
Date of design: Unknown
A tour de force of cutting skills, the body of this substantial and dramatic vase is cut all over. Deeply cut and polished curving swirls incorporating tear-drop shaped and circular lenses frame a calm central scene of a nude mother reclining on a cloth with her sleeping child beside her. The figures are inspired by ancient Classical sculptures but also nod to modern art from the early 20th century in their strong stylisation. Treated with acid, their matte finish makes them stand out against the shiny swirls. Her stylised face is seen in profile and she gazes down lovingly at her child. the length of her reclining form invites the viewer to admire the work on the vase in its entirety, as one needs to move around the piece to view her entire body. This vase is all about dramatic curves – from the curves of the mother’s voluptuous body to the curves of the cut swirls, the rim and the round vase form itself. The lenses and angles created by the cut swirls reflect and refract each other, as well as the figural scene, creating an optical effect that adds immense visual interest.
A small internal bubble, undoubtedly a production flaw, is cleverly used by the cutter as the mother’s belly button, showing the cutting of this piece was carefully planned from the start. Almost certainly unique, it is possible that this was made for an exhibition. A circular lens on the back is signed Sklo Kodejs with a crown motif (see detail). Glass bearing this mark is extremely rare and, currently, no information can be found to confirm the maker or designer. A stunning, high quality piece.
7in (17.5cm) highest, 7in (17.5cm) widest.
About The Designer
The design, and potentially the execution, of this vase is attributed to Jaroslav Kodejs, born in 1938. Kodejs studied at the Artistic Institute of Industry at Jablonec nad Nisou from 1960-63 and began his career as a draughtsman at the jewellery factory in the same town. He then moved to become a jewellery designer at Zelezny Brod Sklo, where he spent most of his career. He specialised in black jet jewellery, but also produced other costume jewellery designs. His first major exhibition was the Montréal International Exposition in 1967 andsince then, his work has been included in jewellery exhibitions internationally including those at Tokyo, Vienna, Munich, Paris and Barcelona. His work can be found in many public collections including the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, the Museum of Modern Art in Sydney, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas, and the Slovak National Gallery in Bratislava. Although nearly all of his designs are for jewellery, glass students and designers were required to study, and sometimes later work, across many different media. Thus it is likely that, at some point, he was required to produce decorative designs for pieces such as vases. The heavy, all-over cutting on this jewel-like piece is also reminiscent of the heavy faceting found on stones and crystal in jewellery.