Though founded over 170 years ago by a group of Spanish leather craftsmen, the namesake of Enrique Loewe Roessberg has been a brand built not just on the knowledge of meticulous craft but the heritage of superlative artistry that has been handed down through the generations. Thus, it is historically significant that the spirit and ethos of Loewe perpetuates itself through the LOEWE Foundation.
Loewe, Not Just Fashion House but also Patron of the Arts through LOEWECraftPrize
With origins in 1988, the Loewe Foundation serves as a private cultural Templar, guardians, if you will, of the literal foundations of artisanal craft which has served the brand (and their sacred duty as suppliers of the Spanish Royal family) since 1846. In 2016, Loewe Creative Director Jonathan Anderson conceived and launched the international annual Loewe Craft Prize to celebrate and extend the maison’s patronage in the creative arts to the newest, most talented artists and craftsmen with the vision and will to herald new excellence and standards for art and design.
“Craft is the essence of LOEWE. As a house, we are about craft in the purest sense of the word. That is where our modernity lies, and it will always be relevant,”- Jonathan Anderson
Loewe’s cultural and artistic patronage is not confined within the genres for which it is reputed for, namely, leather and ready-to-wear couture, but rather open to any and all fields as long as they are objets d’art birthed by hand: Everyone from book binders to jewellery artisans are welcome to apply, and winners of the Loewe craft prize will find their life’s work supported and nourished by the maison.
The requirements of the Loewe craft prize are simple. The artist in question has to meet the criteria for clear artistic vision, superlative execution by hand and be materially significant in terms of art and the advancement of traditional crafts in terms of contemporary culture. To wit, German wood artist Ernst Gamperl was the winner of the 2017 edition out of 26 finalists from close to 4,000 submissions representing over 75 countries.
Gamperl’s “tree of life” oak receptacles were hewn from a 300-year-old tree felled naturally albeit before its time by a storm. His works of gigantic handcrafted bowls and vases were lauded by the panel of jurists which included international design luminary Patricia Urquiola, director of London’s Design Museum Deyan Sudjic and director of the Japan Folk Crafts Museum Naoto Fukasawa.
In short, Gamperl represented the very same ideals as the men and women who toil at the brand’s main workshop in Madrid, combining advanced methods of leather work with the best traditions and knowledge of craft, with an eye on contemporary culture.
Winning LOEWECraftPrizes must:
Be owned by the participant, at all times, since its creation until the end of the License period,
Be an original one-off piece, handmade or partly handmade by the participant,
Have been recently created (in the last five years),
Have won no prizes previously,
Be innovative, in the sense that it updates tradition,
Demonstrate artistic intent,
Be able to travel and be installed by LOEWE and/or the LOEWE FOUNDATION
The Prize for the winning piece of work is fifty thousand euros (50,000 euros). The winning entry can be made up of either one single piece of work or one series of works. The works created by the Winner and Finalists will be included in the exhibition ´LOEWE Craft Prize 2018’ and its accompanying catalogue, on view in London in May 2018 or any other city that LOEWE FOUNDATION may deem appropriate.