Michael Powolny (Judenburg 1871 - 1954 Vienna) is one of the best-known ceramic artists of the Viennese Jugendstil and with the cheerful Putti figures he had a decisive influence on decorative ceramics of his time produced by "Wiener Keramik" workshop. This large, perfectly preserved garden vase goes back to a design by Powolny for the Wienerberger company in 1916/17 (model number 4120). The massive and at the same time beautifully shaped vase could decorate a noble interior in its function as a plant cachepot or offered itself as sculptural decoration for the house or garden in the form of a "baluster vase". Powolny adorns the solid vase with the allegories of the "Four Seasons", modelling his characteristic putti in relief on the wall. They are partly depicted with the well-known attributes, such as grapes for autumn, and partly the ceramic artist lets them perform seasonal activities. In spring, for example, a putto pours flowers, winter is represented by a skating putto and kingfisher, and summer is symbolized by a putto resting on cereal barks with a sickle and a wine jug. The enchanting figures stand out from the ivory-white glaze in colour and form the only figurative decoration. Only three ochre-coloured ribbons divide the vase horizontally, forming a discreet frame for snapshots of the "Four Seasons".
Bib.: cf. catalogue raisonné by Elisabeth Frottier, „Michael Powolny. Keramik und Glas aus Wien“ (Michael Powolny, Viennese ceramics and glass), Böhlau Verlag, Vienna-Cologne 1990, nr. 209