"Fireworks" Vase

Manufacturer: Orrefors Glasbruk

Designer: Edward Hald (Swedish, Stockholm 1883–1980)

Date: 1921

Medium: Engraved flashed glass

Dimensions: H. 8 3/4 × Diam.11 1/8 in. (22.2 × 28.3 cm)

Classification: Glass

Credit Line: Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1927

Accession Number: 27.96.5


Though originally trained as a painter, Hald is best known for his career as a designer for the Orrefors Glasbruk ("Glassworks") in Sweden. Hired in 1917, together with Simon Gate he worked directly with the firm's glass blowers and cutters in an effort to update and improve the quality of the company's designs.

Colored glass and engraved glass were among two of the firm's specialties. This vase employs both techniques: an outer layer of royal blue glass is deeply etched to reveal the colorless (though frosted) layer below, allowing the design to be seen in a reverse-cameo effect. The dramatically flaring form and charming decoration are superbly integrated: stylized bursts of fireworks fill the expansive nighttime sky, while a parade of fashionably dressed spectators in a park setting below creates a continuous frieze at the bottom of the vase, visually anchoring it to its narrow base.