Lobmeyr Museum – a little known treasure


At Kärntner Straße 26 stands one of 19th century Vienna’s most elegant and famous shops, Lobmeyr crystal, which received a license as purveyors to the imperial court in the early 1820’s. (http://www.lobmeyr.at/content/kontakt.) Still all decked out for Christmas in January:
Lobmeyer window

I had seen some beautiful gold-decorated goblets in the window (I went through a phase of studying and collecting antique and modern glass many years ago), and decided to go in and price them.
1-11 Lobmeyer gold embossed goblets

Oh, well, they were fun to visit. (They were antiques, valued at over 500 Euros a stem!) Once in the shop, though, I was greeted very hospitably and offered to see the crystal museum housed upstairs. The museum is fascinating, especially for some of the fin-de-siècle designs, and also some molds used to produce the glassware – some of the simplest designs which are so thin and delicate they almost bend, and some intricately hand-etched with delicate designs!

1-11 Lobmeyer etched goblets

The Lobmeyrs’ friendships around the turn of the 20th century with the Wiener Werkstatte group (artists who were working to incorporate Jungendstil principles into applied arts) prompted a generation of new glass artists to create elegant glassware for Lobmeyr in the early 20th century. Many of these artists were Jewish, and a part of the larger fin-de-siècle explosion of Jewish creativity and innovation in the arts and culture – for example, this glass box and sketches by Ena Rottenberg:
Lobmeyr Ena Rottenberg

The Lobmeyr museum also has a great deal of older historical crystal and ceramic ware, including this antique Seder plate:
Lobmeyer Seder plate

The shop is elegant and 19th century, with many chandeliers, contemporary and antique glassware for sale, and an enormous, amazing glass shell looming above it all.
Lobmeyer giant shell


About pcooperwhite

Christiane Brooks Johnson Professor of Psychology and Religion, Union Theological Seminary, New York NY
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