Description & Technical information

Designed by: Michael Powolny, 1915/16, decoration for the men's  steam-bath in the Vienna "Dianabad", WV 198
Executed by: Wienerberger Ziegelfabriks- und
Baugesellschaft, model no. 4081

Red clay, ivory colour glaze, filled base, a sizeable old repair on the
reverse of the base with chips to one fish tail, a shallow hairline on the front of the base, firing imperfections, scattered staining and crazing throughout, in good overall condition.

H 125 cm

The Neptune figure is the largest known ceramic figure designed by Michael Powolny. Firing a figure of this size requires a great deal of skill, organisation and expense.
A number of these figures suffered kiln damage and had to be replaced. A total of eight were installed in the former Vienna “Dianabad” with Leopold Forstner providing the mosaics for the niches. In 1915-1917, the Dianabad was rebuilt into the largest public baths in Central Europe according to plans by architect Peter Paul Brang. It took the “Gebrüder Schwadron” 100 men and one year to tile all the rooms in the baths. The Neptune figure, offered in their then sales catalogue, was executed by the Wienerberger Ziegelfabriks- und Baugesellschaft. Sadly, the Dianabad was demolished in 1968.

Date:  1915/16
Period:  20th century
Origin:  Austrian
Medium: Ceramic
Dimensions: 125 cm (49¹/₄ inches)
Provenance: H.M. Luther Antiques, New York, USA


Ref.: E. Frottier, Michael Powolny, Keramik und Glas aus Wien 1900–1950, cat. raisonné 198 (Neptune), WV 239 (Venus), ill. 54, 55; T. Zickler (ed.), Brüder Schwadron. Neue Orte & Spuren, Vienna 2014, p. 19–23

Photo credit: Stair Galleries & Restoration, Inc.

Categories: Sculpture