Though I have been known to plan meals to complement certain of my tableware, and move flowers from one vase to another until I like the composition, I somehow did not think the double-header exhibits, Glasses from the Empire and Biedermeier and, The Glass of the Architects: Vienna 1900-1937 currently running at the Museum of Applied Arts (MAK) would be my thing, and so waited until the last possible, polite moment to confirm my art group participation.

I should have known better than to doubt the talent of our guide to weave an interesting, informative tale about the elegant and simple vitrines filled with beautiful glass, and so I rather enjoyed the tour. The exhibit marked the first time since 1922 that glassware from the Biedermeier, Empire, and (now) up to post-WWI eras have been on display. Wherever is all of this stuff stored?


This will not be a tutorial on the Vienna glass scene of the late 1700s through the early 1900’s. Instead, a few personal highlights. Among the earliest works, hand etched and painted glasses.img_2054

When filled with a beverage, the painted fish gave an appearance of, “swimming.” My IKEA everyday drinking glasses don’t hold a candle to these.


All of these pieces are glass! Steinglass, or “stone glass” to be more precise, and all hail from the Bohemian territories of the former empire.

Glass of the (Vienna) Architects.This screams 1920s/1930s to me, and does indeed seem very Vienna.


A beautiful set.


Glass from The Great War, the beginning of the end for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We have been here in Austria for the many exhibits commemorating that start of WWI, from the The Car to the treatment of Ruthenians and Jews; to the use of technology and much more, and have learned so much.


More Biedermeier glass. Why one needs a cap for a vase I do not know, but I still found the piece to be charming.

Lobmeyr Glass. Purveyors to the Imperial Court from the early 1800’s, even I can not help myself when walking past their storefront. Simply exquisite.


Finally, pieces designed by Adolf Loos, better known perhaps for Loos Haus, one of the main buildings of Viennese Modernism. Lobmeyr’s pieces are far prettier to me, though.


Shocking for its time, and declared to be a “house without eyebrows.” Emperor Franz Josef hated it so much he never exited his palace facing the direction of the building. So the story goes.

Photo courtesy of the Internet

I can not write that I now have an annual pass for the MAK, but I can say that I will not be so reluctant to join my art group there in the future.