Tapio Wirkkala (1915 Hanko, Finland - 1985 Helsinki, Finland) A giant of Finnish design, Wirkkala was an artist of great diversity for whom no material was alien and who left no area of design unexplored. Suokurppa
A glass design competition held by the Iittala glassworks in 1946 was the event that set his career in motion; the first prize went jointly to Wirkkala and Kaj Franck.
With an oeuvre that ranges from exceptionally beautiful pieces of glass art to industrial design in the form of beer bottles and banknotes, Wirkkala also designed jewellery, sculptures, and furniture.
The recipient of many awards, honorary titles, and a doctorate, Wirkkala won three Grand Prix medals at the Milan Triennale in 1954 and an additional Grand Prix medal and gold medal at the Milan Triennale in 1960.
A sculpture of a bird, most resembling a snipe. The Finnish name for the sculpure is "Suokurppa", which translates into Bog or Marsh Snipe.
Tapio Wirkkala sculpted these birdsculptures in 1975 and they are modelnumber TW513 in his oeuvre. The Finnish metalmaking firm, Kultakeskus made these sculptures by hand and only by order. They could be orderd in silver, bronze or aluminium on either a glass or wooden base.
This particular sculpture was made of aluminium than painted with a silver coloured paint and is mounted on a glass mount. The sculpture is marked underneath the tail: Kultakeskus Oy Design: Tapio Wirkkala.
The glass base is marked underneath the base: Tapio Wirkkala. Due to Wirkkala's long standing association with the Iittala glassworks it's save to say these bases were made there. On the top of the base the sculpture bears a Silver plate with engraved dedication and date: 29-2-1984. It is very likely this piece was made in that year.
As these sculptures were never made in serial production they are rare and sought after. They have been included in many important museal and private collections.
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