Symbolist Cat - Art by Miklos Zsolnay
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Miklos Zsolnay
Symbolist Cat

ca 1908

About

SYMBOLIST CAT by ZSOLNAY, eosin glazed porcelain. "It is easy to understand why the rabble dislike cats. A cat is beautiful; it suggests ideas of luxury, cleanliness, voluptuous pleasures." - Charles Baudelaire Iridescence, which changes in every angle of reflected light, is the perfect compliment to a cat’s capricious nature. Zsolnay introduced its patented shiny metallic glaze, known as eosin, in 1893. The small family ceramics workshop begun in Pecs, Hungary by Miklos Zsolnay in 1853 had evolved into a world-class ceramics factory by this time. Zsolnay walked away with the Grand Prix at the 1878 World’s Fair in Paris for its art pottery. Under the stewardship of Vilmos Zsolnay, the firm began hiring sculptors and other artists. Chemist, Vincse Wartha, became their artistic director. His crystalline metallic glazes applied to Zsolnay porcelain gave their Art Nouveau creations a distinctive style. Eosin became the rage, and it could soon be found adorning just about anything from public fountains to porcelain vases. Following the death of Vilmos in 1900, the family’s third generation under the directorship of Miklos Zsolnay (1857-1922) took Zsolnay into the international market place by establishing showrooms in Paris and Vienna for their luxury goods. His brother-in-law, Tade Sikorsky became Zsolnay’s chief designer while his sisters, Terez and Julia, contributed their own designs and art works to the firm. Julia Zsolnay (1856-1950) in particular influenced Zsolnay’s evolving artistic style. Beginning in 1895, she studied painting and ceramics in Munich, Vienna and Paris. As evidenced by her membership in the Hungarian Fine Arts Society; the Art Society in Vienna; and the Society of Women Artists in Munich, Julia Zsolnay was active in many European artistic communities where she would have had the opportunity to share ideas and absorb the latest artistic trends such as the Symbolist and the Jugundstil ethos. During the first decade of the 20th century, cats were especially popular subjects. The striking posters that Theodore Steinlen created in the 1890s for the earliest cabaret, Le Chat Noir in Paris had struck a nerve. In the exciting but uncertain new century, the cat was a perfect symbol of ambiguity: it stood as an expression of both domesticity and a feral nature. The cat is serene, proud, aloof and sensual; the cat is also mischievous, willful, independent and wild.

Details

  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
    Excellent
  • Condition Details
    Marked and numbered in the underside with 5 churches stamp and incised “8288”
  • Dimensions
    H 12 in. x W 5.25 in.H 30.48 cm x W 13.34 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Reference Number
    LU46731772723
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About the Seller

5 / 5
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1stdibs seller since 2016
Located in Chicago, IL
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