Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum Presents Ted Muehling Selects: Lobmeyr Glass from the Permanent Collection

“Ted Muehling Selects: Lobmeyr Glass from the Permanent Collection” is the 10th installment in an exhibition series devoted to showing rotations of Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s permanent collection. The exhibition celebrates the museum’s recent acquisition of an extraordinary collection of rare glass works from J. & L. Lobmeyr of Vienna, Austria, which dates from 1835 to 2008 and spans nearly the entire history of the firm. The exhibition will be on view from April 23, 2010, through Jan. 2, 2011, and will feature more than 100 Lobmeyr pieces selected by designer Ted Muehling, original drawings lent by Lobmeyr, and other related works from the museum’s collection.

“Cooper-Hewitt’s mission to explore the continuum of design is further strengthened by the acquisition of this collection, which illustrates Lobmeyr’s evolution and provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase the fascinating impact the works have on Ted Muehling, one of today’s preeminent designers,” said curatorial director, Cara McCarty.

One of the premier central European glass firms, J. & L. Lobmeyr was founded in 1822 and continues to deliver exquisite designs of high quality, execution and style. Celebrated for its clear, simple forms, many of the firm’s designs have been in continuous production since their introduction in the mid-19th century.

Guest curator Muehling—a noted designer of jewelry and decorative arts, who has created his own designs in glass for Lobmeyr—brings a unique perspective and particular insight into the collection and has chosen works that celebrate the art of drinking and entertaining. The exhibition works will be grouped by period, illustrating the timeless nature of Lobmeyr’s classic designs, which helped to influence the modern aesthetic.

Lobmeyr is renowned for its innovative manufacturing and glass-making technologies, and for its tradition of commissioning notable designers and artists to work for the firm. Among the most significant works in the 163 piece Lobmeyr collection are designs from the Wiener Werkstätte and other early 20th-century designers, including pieces by Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, Michael Powolny, Stefan and Marianne Rath and Josef Wimmer. The collection also features works by major 19th-century designers, such as Ludwig Lobmeyr and Josef Storck, as well as glass by contemporary designers.

A highlight of the exhibition will be glassware designed by Hoffmann, shown alongside a design drawing with handwritten notations by Ludwig Lobmeyr and Hoffmann, which illustrate the collaborative design process. Other work by Hoffmann from the museum’s permanent collection will also be on view, including flatware, textiles and wall coverings.

The exhibition will also feature:

• An 1835 wine decanter, designed by Josef Lobmeyr Sr., which is the earliest piece in the collection.

• A “Blue, White, Gold” Footed Plate, designed by Lobmeyr circa 1885, featuring intricate hand-painted designs.

• The “Patrician Drinking Set #238,” which was designed by Hoffmann in 1917. The delicate, stream-lined decanter and stemware, created with Stefan Rath, are still considered one of the most important designs for Lobmeyr today.

• Viennese designer Marianne Rath’s flower bowl, which mixes blown and carved glass techniques to create the effect of rock crystal.

• Muehling’s 2007 “Drinking Set No. 279,” with butterfly etched glasses and decanter, along with the book Botanicals: Butterflies and Insects from the National Design Library, which helped to inform the work.

“Ted Muehling Selects” is the 10th in a series of small one-gallery exhibitions in the Nancy and Edwin Marks Gallery. The museum invites guest curators from all around the world to create exhibitions and installations interpreted in their own voice from works in the museum’s permanent collection.

Previous guest curators include novelist, design critic and public radio host Kurt Andersen, Dutch designer Hella Jongerius, Nigerian-British artist Yinka Shonibare, the innovation and design firm IDEO, the Brazilian designers Fernando and Humberto Campana and artist Shahzia Sikander.

Muehling has been designing for more than 20 years and his work includes porcelain, glass, metalwork and jewelry. His exquisite designs are adaptations of nature, evoking both the organic and the manmade, and are sensual and tactile in their sculptural simplicity. Muehling has worked with Steuben as well as the Porzellan Manufactur Nymphenburg in Germany, where he designed hand-painted and naturalistic tableware. For Lobmeyr, he has created significant new designs that have expanded the range of commissions for the firm. His work was also featured in Cooper-Hewitt’s recent exhibition “Design for a Living World.”

For further information, please call (212) 849-8400 or visit http://www.cooperhewitt.org

Image: “Cobalt Blue Series” fruit bowl. Designed by Michael Powolny (Austrian, 1871–1951), Manufactured for J. & L. Lobmeyr Vienna, Austria, 1924–26. Glass Museum purchase through gift of Arthur Liu and Anonymous Donor and from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2009–18–122. Photo: Andrew Garn.

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