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Object Name: Figured bottle
Date: 1851-1853
Related People:
Medium: Glass
Dimensions: Overall: 10 1/4 × 5 1/2 × 4 in. (26 × 14 × 10.2 cm)
Place made, probably: United States, Philadelphia
Description: Light green, non-lead glass bottle blown in a full-sized, three-part mold (McKearin GI-113) with a profile portrait bust of Lajos Kossuth below the text "KOSSUTH" on the obverse with a tree with foliage on the reverse; bottle is calabash-shaped with an applied and tooled collar and pontil mark.
Credit Line: Purchased from Elie Nadelman
Object Number: 1937.957
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Marks: Embossed on obverse: "KOSSUTH"

Gallery Label:

This object was once part of the folk art collection of Elie Nadelman (1882–1946), the avant-garde sculptor. From 1924 to 1934, Nadelman's collection was displayed in his Museum of Folk Arts, located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. The Historical Society purchased Nadelman's entire collection in 1937.

The Nadelmans showcased a colorful and captivating array of more than 500 pieces of glass in the Museum of Folk and Peasant Arts. They placed some of their most coveted pieces in front of a window so that sunlight would shine through the colored vessels and set the display aglow.

This quart size calabash (gourd-shaped bottle) features the profile bust of Lajos (Louis) Kossuth (1802–1894), the political leader who led Hungary’s struggle for independence from Austria. On October 15, 1851, he landed in New York to begin a tour of America with the goal of raising money and political support for his cause. Though popular with the American public, Kossuth was ultimately unsuccessful in his attempt to gain the money or government recognition he sought. This bottle is one of many commemorative items produced during the hero’s visit to the United States in 1851–52. The tall tree with foliage on the bottle’s reverse may be a Liberty tree symbolically linking Kossuth’s Revolutionary struggle to the American fight for Independence.

Provenance:

The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman, Riverdale, NY

Exhibitions:

"Making It Modern: The Folk Art Collection of Elie and Viola Nadelman," Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, NM, September 6–November 29, 2015; New-York Historical Society, May 20–August 21, 2016; Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA, September 17–December 31, 2016.