Scherenschnitte, German for scissor cuts or shears snips, is the art of cutting paper into beautiful scenes and designs. I have a vase, pictured above, and three framed pictures done in this decorative style. The black paper silhouettes on white backing of the trio with wine, and girls by the bridge, framed 8″x10″ pictures, were brought back from Germany in the 1950s. The smaller 6″x8″ black paper silhouette cut of the dogs and squirrel also came from Germany in the 1950s. These were given to me by my mother-in-law who spent several years in Germany with her Army husband and their children. The detail is lovely in these scenes. The backings on these mountings are showing their age and I probably should get them reframed.
The vase is a very unusual piece I found several years ago. The black pattern is on frosted glass. The vase stands 7 3/8″ tall. The piece is one of a limited number commissioned by the Swiss artist, Walter Von Gunten in Oshkosh, WI in 1972. The cylindrical vase features a design Mr. Von Gunten first produced using paper. A popular well-known scherenschnitte artist of the ’60s and ’70s, Mr. Von Gunten was recognized as one of the best in his field. He even appeared on the TV program “I’ve Got A Secret” in 1965.**UPDATE: a reader tells me this vase was designed as a candle holder, and would certainly be lovely as one.
Paper cutting was first developed in China about 2000 years ago. The art form traveled along trade routes to the Middle East, Europe and finally to the New World with European immigrants, particularly Germans, Swiss and Poles.