- Department: Design
- Auction: 22 April 2012, lot 199
- Viewing: 13 – 21 April 2012
Gunnel Nyman was awarded a gold medal for her glass design at the Paris World Fair in 1937.
Beauty captured in glass - Gunnel Nyman - 100 years. The Finnish Glass Museum, Riihimäki. Page 130.
Gunnel Nyman (1909 – 1948)
Gunnel Nyman, née Gustafsson, was one of the most significant Finnish designers of the 1930s and early 1940s until her untimely death in 1948. Nyman's relationship with her favourite material, glass, is according to herself best described by the following quote by J. L. Runeberg: “O it is so difficult to capture beauty, without giving it the appearance of having lost life and freedom” (free translation). Throughout her career she was given ample proof of her success in the face of this challenge.
In 1928-1932 Nyman, at the time still Gustafsson, studied furniture design at the Helsinki University of Art and Design, during which time she was taught by legendary designer Arttu Brummer. Her teacher quickly discovered the enormous potential of his talented young student and endeavored to support her career – amongst other things by establishing contact between her and Riihimäki Glassworks. The glassworks stood to become her main employer for the following fifteen years.
In addition to a similar approach to their art (both being glass and furniture designers, sharing the view of glass as a sensual, living material), Brummer and Nyman both represented Finland at World Fairs – Nyman in Paris in 1937 and Brummer in New York in 1939.
The then-28-year-old Nyman's vase “Wise virgins” in twisted, engraved and sandblasted glass was one of the main attractions of the Paris World Fair of 1937, and earned its creator a gold medal. At the same Fair Nyman's furniture design was awarded a silver medal, making the Fair a big success for her.