WILHELM KAGE Gustavsberg Argenta Art Deco Vase

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  • Item Category: Ceramics
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Dec 08, 2007
  • Channel: Auction House

Welcome, and thank you for looking!

This auction is offering an extremely RARE and IMPORTANT piece of exquisite Art Deco-era Argenta ware by the renowned Swedish artist and ceramist, Wilhelm Kåge (1889-1960). More below on Kåge and Argenta ware.

It is decidedly larger than most Argenta pieces surviving today, approximately: 7¾ inches (20 cm.) high by 6½ inches (16 cm.) wide, at top.

This superlative example of Kåge's art depicts the Greek myth of "Leda and the Swan" and is among Kåge's more important pieces. It appears to be in near-mint condition, given its age, with only the barest amount of wear to the silver and some water discoloration to the interior of the vase. T is absolutely no crazing to the glaze, a frequent weakness found in older Argenta pieces.

The details of the Leda figure are clear and crisp; beautifully modeled. You can almost count the strands of her flowing hair. The feathers of the swan (according to the myth, the god Zeus in disguise), particularly its wings and head, are exquisitely detailed as well, yet both figures have the typically streamlined characteristics of Art Deco. As is found in only the very best Argenta pieces, the silver detailing extends also to the rim of the vase, its edge decorated with a band of silver in a laurel wreath pattern (see photos).

Kåge's own earlier Argenta pieces, from about 1929-1940, particularly those which date from the early to mid-thirties, were true masterpieces, unlike many of the pretty, but trivial items produced after Kåge's retirement in 1950. This exceptional vase being offering today is just such a piece. Like all his best work, it's stamped "HAND-DREJAD" (individually formed, by hand; drejskiva = potter's wheel).

is a rare opportunity to acquire a piece of great ceramic art by a famous Art Deco-era artist.

It's a piece for connoisseur collectors of Art Deco and/or Argenta ware, not for the casual browser, and it is priced accordingly.

About Wilhelm Kage and Argenta Ware: Kåge (born Algot Wilhelm Nilsson in Stockholm), after studying painting and decorative arts in Stockholm, Denmark, and Germany, had a fairly distinguished career in fine art until he was named artistic director of the Gustavsberg Works in 1917. From then until his retirement in the late 1940s, he mentored, among others, the world-famous Swedish ceramist Stig Lindbergh, and was responsible for developing numerous beautiful types of
glazes on Swedish ceramics, which made him and Gustavsberg world famous.

The most renowned of these was the Argenta line, in which a thick layer of Sterling Silver was applied in decorative, pictorial designs to the distinctive, mottled emerald green/deep turquoise-glazed stoneware. Despite the ever-increasing cachet and high collectability of Argenta ware in general, many of the lower-end pieces turned out by Gustavsberg to meet Argenta's enormous popularity in the post-war era were fairly trivial--small dishes or bud vases, pen-trays, cigarette urns, coaster sets, etc.

Pieces such as "Leda and the Swan," personally designed by Kåge himself, were rarities indeed.

Provenance: The owner's grandmother, a Swedish opera singer and the niece of a famous Swedish woman painter, had many friends in Stockholm's artistic community. She was good friends with Kåge, and this vase was a present from him in the early 1930s, possibly on her 40th birthday in June, 1932. It was and remained the "crown jewel" in the family's extensive collection of Argenta ware, and was used only on the most special occasions, holding white tulips, peonies, or white roses. It has never left the family until now.

The silvered base pictured will be included, if desired, ONLY if purchased as a Buy It Now item.


International as well as domestic buyers are most welcome. I accept only PayPal or International interbank telegraphic transfers from international buyers (any bank charges to be paid by the buyer). Domestic buyers may pay via U.S. postal m...