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The Limnettes® were a unique product of the Cybis studio during the first half of the 1970s. They are freeform-shaped hand painted porcelain plaques that were designed by the Polish artist George Ivers (nee Jerzy Iwaszkiewicz.) Ivers was actually working for Lenox at the time but came to the Cybis studio after the production run of the Limnettes® had ended… joining Cybis as their Art Director in 1973 and remaining in that post for thirteen years.

Cybis applied for trademark registration of the word “Limnette” in 1972 and was granted it in 1974; that is why the backs of the first-year-production pieces are signed Limnette™ which indicates an item that is awaiting approval of a trademark application. Many of those pieces are dated 1971 even though the official introduction ‘year’ was 1972.

 

brochures for Cybis LimnettesCybis’ original intention was for all of the Limnettes® to be mounted on porcelain as shown in these two introductory brochures.

 
wood bases for LimnettesIt appears as if most (perhaps all) of the 1971-signed pieces were produced with the porcelain mounts but in 1972 a switch was made to using wood instead.

There were three different series of Limnettes®, with four designs per series, and all were limited editions of 500 per design at introduction. All of the Limnettes® were priced at $125 each for the entire availability term. According to the 1979 Cybis catalog appendix, the “final edition size” was reduced to 100 before completion (in 1975 for all.) Unfortunately the edition size of the Limnettes® is a textbook instance of published information contradicting reality, which I discuss in Edition Size Discrepancies: A Cybis Conundrum. Each of the series contain actual Limnettes® that are numbered higher than the supposed final edition size of 100.

The three series were entitled “The Wonderful Seasons”, “Everyone’s Fun Time” and “When Bells Are Ringing.”

The Wonderful Seasons

 

SPRING Limnette plaque by CybisSUMMER Limnette plaque by CybisAUTUMN Limnette plaque by CybisWINTER Limnette plaque by CybisThe Wonderful Seasons LIMNETTES by CybisEach of the four portraits depicts a lady dressed to represent Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The oval porcelain plaques are 4” high and about 3.25” across at the widest point; the wood mount is 5.5” high x 4.25” wide.

 
Summer Limnette George Ivers signatureThe examples of the Seasons shown above come from two different sources although they are all dated 1972. The first four individual Limnettes® all have matching numbers (#236) on the outside edge of the ovals and all are also signed “Ivers” adjacent to the Cybis signature and date. The group of four shown in the final photo were all numbered #110 and signed by Ivers also. Both numbers are higher than the final issue as cited by Cybis in their 1979 catalog.

Everyone’s Fun Time

 

THE POND Limnette by Cybis on porcelain mountThe concept of this series was simple: people having fun. The Pond is a winter scene complete with ice skaters and hockey players. Oddly, its original copyrighted name was Snowy Sunday but it never retailed under that name.

 
THE POND plaque by Cybis on wood baseThis example is dated 1973 and is 5.5”high x 6” wide.

 


COUNTRY FAIR Limnette plaque by Cybis on porcelain mountcountry-fair-plaque-detailCountry Fair
is complete with a ferris wheel and merry go round. The original 1971 copyright registration for this item gave its name as The Carnival.

cybis-limnette-rear-numbering-and-marksThis example is dated 1971 on the front and is numbered #241/500 on the back of the mount; no mention of an Ivers signature. The numbering format is very strange because Cybis almost never included the edition size in their signatures; perhaps they only did this for these first-year pieces.

 
COUNTRY FAIR Limnette plaque by Cybis on wood baseThis example on a dark wood mount is dated 1972 near the Cybis signature and is numbered 13; the dimensions are 5.5” x 5.5”. Notice how the signatures are clearly visible on this one, whereas the 1971 example doesn’t even (at first glance) seem to be signed at all; however, enhancement of another photo reveals a faint grey Cybis signature located at the lower right, just below the Balloon Man’s brown pants.
 


WINDY DAY Limnette plaque by Cybis on porcelain mountwindy-day-plaque-detailWindy Day
was originally copyright-registered as Windy Afternoon. This is obviously a 1971 piece; it is 4.5” high and 7” wide overall, with the plaque being about 3.5” x 5.5”. The seller of this plaque quoted the numbering on the back as being #58/100 but again I wonder if that was a typo for 500?
Windy Day Limnette plaque by Cybis on wood mount 1973Here is Windy Day on wood, dated 1973 and having the Ivers signature adjacent to “Cybis.”

 

 
THE SEASHORE Limnette plaque by CybisA fanciful day at The Seashore. The original copyright registration name for this piece was On The Beach. As shown on the wood mount it is 4.25” high x 7” wide overall. Signatures, dates, and numbers were omitted from its description.

I have no idea why the original copyrighted titles of these four Limnettes® were not the ones applied to them when they were actually introduced at retail.

When Bells Are Ringing

Although it’s perhaps a bit of a stretch to directly correlate bells with more than two of these subjects, three of them do also represent holiday celebrations.

 

EASTER EGG HUNT Limnette plaque by CybisEaster Egg Hunt measures 5” high and 5.5” wide and is signed Ivers at the bottom left. A different but unpictured (bad photo) example dated 1972 did not have the Ivers signature and was numbered 333.

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS Limnette plaque by CybisThis scene is called Merry Christmas. The plaque is 3.75” h x 5” wide, with the mounted piece being 5” x 5.5”…. not much wiggle room on the sides! The example shown above was not cited as being Ivers-signed, nor was a date mentioned; however, a similar example also on the wood mount was described as signed 1972 and #333.

 

 

SABBATH MORNING Limnette plaque by Cybissabbath-morning-detailsabbath-morning-signature-and-impressionThis winter scene is entitled Sabbath Morning. This example dates from 1971; the seller repeated his written description error re: the number, citing it as being “241/300” even though the listing photograph above clearly shows that it is actually #241/500. A different example of this Limnette®, also mounted on wood, was dated 1972 and numbered simply 333; the Ivers signature was not cited as appearing on that one.

 

INDEPENDENCE CELEBRATION Limnette plaque by CybisIndependence Celebration is obviously a July Fourth scene (perhaps it’s the Liberty Bell that’s ringing?). This is 5.75” high and 5.5” wide overall. The Ivers signature appears in black along the curve of the right hand edge, while the Cybis signature is in white at the lower left; this is a rare instance of the Cybis signature being in a non-standard paint color. This one was numbered 333.

Although the Limnettes® themselves are proprietary to (trademarked by) Cybis, Ivers’ art in this format was already well known. Some of them were mounted and others were not. An interesting small item was found in 2011 auction listing and I’ve wondered if this might date from Ivers’ time at Cybis… an “art doodle”, if you will:

Boy on Sand Dunes plaque by George IversThe porcelain fragment is quite small, only 1.5” high and 2.25” wide. It is attached to a square of wood which is very very similar to (if not the same as) that which was used for the bases of quite a few Cybis busts during the 1970s; the wood was described as measuring 3.25” x 3” x 1.5”. A handwritten label on the side read “Boy on Sand Dunes”, and the original owner was supposedly a clerical employee at Cybis. Perhaps Mr. Ivers made this for her as gift. Other examples of his work can be seen at the George Ivers Gallery website.

Name Index of Cybis Sculptures
About the Cybis Reference Archive
What is Cybis?

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