Alvar Aalto - Time for Design London Wednesday, April 27, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Alvar and Aino Aalto as Glass Designers, exh. cat., Iittala Glass Museum, Sävypaino, 1988, cat. no. 46
    Jennifer Hawkins Opie, Scandinavia: Ceramics & Glass in the Twentieth Century, London, 1989, p. 23, fig. 189
    Pikko Tukkanen, Alvar Aalto Designer, Vammala, 2002, pp. 148, 200-201
    Kaisa Koivisto, Uta Lauren, Suomalaisen Taidelasin Kultakausi, Helsinki, 2013, p. 58
    Kaisa Koivisto and Pekka Korvenmaa, eds., Glass from Finland in the Bischofberger Collection, exh. cat., Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice, 2015, p. 137, 396

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Savoy vase was originally designed as a competition entry held by Karhula Glassworks for the Paris World Fair of 1937. Most are undated but this example is etched 1937, the year of the Paris Exhibition.

    Deyan Sudjic

  • Artist Biography

    Alvar Aalto

    Finnish • 1898 - 1976

    In contrast with the functionalism of the International Style (as well the neoclassicism put forward by the Nazi and Soviet regimes), Alvar Aalto brought a refreshing breath of humanism to modern design: "True architecture exists only where man stands in the center," he wrote. Aalto designed furniture in stack-laminated plywood composed of Finnish birch, which was cost-effective and lent warmth to his interiors. Aalto also revived Finnish glass design with his entries in the various Karhula-Iitala glassworks competitions throughout the 1930s.

    In 1936 he won first place for a collection of colorful, wavy vases in various sizes titled Eskimoerindens skinnbuxa (The Eskimo Woman’s Leather Breeches). The vases were an immediate success and the most popular size, now known as the "Savoy" vase, is still in production today. Aalto's freeform designs, in harmony with human needs and nature, anticipated the organic modernism of the 1950s and 1960s; in particular, his innovations in bent plywood had a major impact on designers such as Charles and Ray Eames.

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Donated by Rainer Zietz


Early vase, model no. 9750, from the 'Eskimoerindens skinnbuxa' sketch series

Coloured glass still-blown into mould.
13.8 x 20.3 x 16 cm (5 3/8 x 7 7/8 x 6 1/4 in.)
Produced at the Karhula Glassworks by Karhula-Iittala, Finland. Well acid-etched with KARHULA and 22 IX 37.

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £15,000

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Time for Design

London Auction 28 April 2016