List Price £750,000
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By Rossler, K. (Austrian, fl. 1870-1908)
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Comprising a central lidded vase and a pair of flanking lidded vases, the central vase with twin handles, surmounted by a silver and enamel bust to the lid with finely detailed repousse silver gilt interior, with extensive brightly coloured enameled strap-work around the body of lapis lazuli, in the form of mythological-inspired figures and whimsical winged swan-neck monsters, intricate female caryatid-inspired figures in enamel on the sides of curved, tendril handles, mounted on a curved foot, the base heavily enameled with masks, figures and ram's heads, the pair of flanking vases similarly decorated, with makers monogram 'KR' in multiple places and further silver marks
Central vase height 54cm, width 53cm, depth 28cm; pair of flanking vases height 64cm
During the 19th Century, Vienna developed into one of the most important European centres for culture and the arts. Its position within the centre of the (former) Holy Roman Empire had initiated a unique infusion of artistic styles and techniques, which led to a cultural renaissance. This new artistic centre played host to a group of artisans with exceptional talent and skill in creating the finest decorative objects made out of precious metals, enamel and other expensive materials such as rock crystal and semi-precious stones. Vienna, which became known as 'enameling centre of Europe', was distinguished for producing enamels of the finest quality, and their makers were frequently decorated with awards at International Expositions.
It was during this period that Karl Rossler opened his shop for "Kunstgewebliche Gegenstande in Gold und Silber. - Email- und Antique-imitation" (translating to: art historical objects in gold and silver, enamels and antique imitations) in Vienna at Diehlgasse 50 in 1890. He is recorded as working at various other addresses until 1908. Alongside the other distinguished Austrian makers of the period, such as Hermann Ratzersdorfer (fl. 1843-1881) and Hermann B (fl. 1866-1922), his works feature extensive enameling and use of high quality materials, in accordance with the very fine works produced in Vienna at the time.
This garniture set has been produced in the style of the Italian Renaissance, and is comparable if not superior in design, quality and scale to any other work by an Austrian maker of the same period. The regression in design inspiration stems from the idealistic notions of the 19th Century when the artists and designers looked to the great ages of art history for inspiration. As such, creations that took root with the Renaissance adhered to the era's contemporary mark of good taste. The use of extensive enameling, evident in this piece, demonstrates the owner's standing, wealth and education, and this garniture would have been a costly commission, especially when taking into account the amount of lapis lazuli used.
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