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Papageno as a Putto, 1916/17

Leopold Museum,
Ceramic, glazed
80×33.7×53 cm


  • Michael Powolny

    (Judenburg 1871–1954 Vienna)

  • Wienerberger
Unfortunately not on display at the moment
The design of this sculpture goes back to the ceramicist and sculptor Michael Powolny (1871–1954). A trained potter and stove fitter, he attended the Technical School for the Clay Industry in Znojmo/Znaim from 1891 to ’94 and the Vienna Arts-and-Crafts School from 1894 to 1901. Together with Bertold Löffler (1874–1960), he founded the Wiener Keramik manufactory in 1905, which worked closely with the Wiener Werkstätte and which they sold in 1913. One of Powolny’s most famous creations is the Papageno as a Putto, based on the figure of the bird catcher from Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute. Standing on a round footplate, he strikes his glockenspiel to lure birds. Various songbirds, a parrot and an eagle owl have gathered around him, drawn in by his playing and singing. Carrying it on his back, the feather-adorned putto keeps an opened birdcage ready. The production of this technically extremely challenging ceramic piece was taken over by Wienerberger AG, for which Powolny created numerous full sculptural garden figures between 1913 and 1922.

Object data

  • Design: Michael Powolny
  • Execution: Wienerberger
Papageno as a Putto
Art movement
Art Nouveau
Ceramic, glazed
80×33.7×53 cm
Credit line
Leopold Museum, Vienna, Inv. 4252
Inventory access
Contributed to the Leopold Museum-Privatstiftung in 1994
Selection of Reference works
  • Elisabeth Frottier: Michael Powolny. Keramik und Glas aus Wien. 1900 bis 1950. Monografie und Werkverzeichnis, Wien/Köln 1990.
Catalogue raisonne
  • Frottier 1990: WV 205

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Provenance research
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