"Pearl Diver" Vase

Designed by Viktor (Vicke) Lindstrand, Swedish, 1904 - 1983. Made by the Orrefors glass factory, Orrefors, Sweden, 1898 - present. Engraved by Arthur Roos, Swedish, 1924 - 1974.

Made in Sweden, Europe

Designed 1935; made 1948

Blown glass with copper-wheel-engraved decoration

11 1/8 x 6 5/16 inches (28.3 x 16.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Henry W. Breyer, Sr., 1962

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Additional information:
  • PublicationDesign, 1900-1940

    As a result of the crusade of the Swedish Association of the Art and Crafts for the beautification of everyday objects through the employment of artist in industry, two painters, Simon Gate and Edward Hald, joined the Orrefors glassworks in 1916 and 1917 and brought about a revitalization that led to great acclaim or the firm at the 1925 Paris exposition. In 1928 a third artist-designer, the sculptor Vicke Lindstrand, was brought to the glassworks and there worked in the innovative Orrefors community, which encouraged a reciprocal relationship between designer and craftsman. Orrefors, Lindstrand would later remark, is "inadequately described as a glassworks. It is really a cult in glass….We have gone to live and work together at Orrefors, striving for the truest forms and expression in our exquisite medium….We stand beside the man at the emery wheel who adds to the weighty modern pieces that supreme pictorial engraving which brings out their fundamental, mystical qualities….We stand beside the furnaces and try to give the glassblowers the feel of what we are seeking."

    In this engraved vase, known as "The Pearl Diver," Lindstrand created an imaginative underwater scene of a single, suspended diver, exploiting the undulating rhythms of the interior of the thick refractive glass to convey a sense of movement and introducing bubbles for narrative ends. The formalized muscular figure, a heroic type used elsewhere by Lindstrand (and in many images of the 1930s), is deeply cut in the wall of the vessel, the depth of the engraving varying greatly as it defines the broad forms of the figure or the details of its outline. "The Pearl Diver," in production from 1935 to about 1963, was one of the most popular designed produced at Orrefors during that period. Kathryn B. Hiesinger and George H. Marcus, from Guides to European Decorative Arts: Design, 1900-1940 (1987), p. 38.