March 18, 2016
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA –Bohemian Boudoir: Czech Vanity Glass, will open April 23, 2016 at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library with a party to rival one of the roaring twenties. The exhibit, located in the Smith Gallery, will remain open through July 17, 2016. The perfume bottles and accessories featured were donated by Rosemary Loss Bodien, an enthusiastic collector of Czech vanity glass and a great friend to the museum. Named for Bodien’s parents, the Ladd and Lydia Straka Loss Memorial Collection boasts over 200 boudoir items. Bodien was thrilled with the planning of the exhibit, but sadly passed away near the end of 2015, before she could see plans realized. A private reception will be held in her memory on April 23 prior to the public opening event, Bohemian Cabaret: An Opening Evening for Bohemian Boudoir.
For the Bohemian Cabaret, guests are encouraged to don their best fedora or fabulous fringe and join in celebrating the new exhibition with signature cocktails, retro-style hors d’oeuvres, exclusive gallery tours, games and a costume contest. The night features performances by The Gatsby Gang, a roaring-twenties-inspired band from Minneapolis, and The Va Va Voom! Burlesque Troupe, a dance group that celebrate self-expression, body diversity and confidence from Vitality Fitness in Cedar Rapids. The evening also features an appearance by DJ Lady J from Z102.9 and the Museum Store will remain open late between 6 and 8 pm. Tickets may be purchased for $25 online at NCSML.org prior to noon on Friday, April 22 and may not be available at the door.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Czech perfume bottles were popular among American consumers. Following the First World War, American women took their fashion cues from Hollywood, mimicking movies that featured the stars seated at lavish dressing tables crowded with beautiful bottles, jars, mirrors and accessories. Since the quality of Czech perfume bottles was uniformly high and the prices relatively low, they became affordable luxuries of the time.
The Ladd and Lydia Straka Loss Memorial Collection showcases items from several different glass houses in the former Bohemia (now Czech Republic) and highlighting the variety of such items they produced, as well as the intricate design and workmanship. In Bohemian Boudoir: Czech Vanity Glass, perfume bottles take center stage, but are complemented by mirrors, brushes, cigarette boxes, lighters, clocks, trays, powder boxes and vases. All are made from glass or crystal, many are etched or cut, and the colors are brilliant, ranging from crystal clear, to malachite green, to coral and more.
Rosemary Bodien’s impressive collection grew over the course of 20 years, beginning with the purchase of her first Czech perfume bottle in 1994 in Salem, Oregon. In 2014, Bodien loaned pieces of her vanity glass collection to the Tacoma Museum of Glass for an exhibition that was a great success. Following this, Rosie completed the donation of her exquisite collection to the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. A catalog is currently in production to document the collection and will be available at the onset of the exhibit in the Museum Store.
Bohemian Boudoir: Czech Vanity Glass is generously sponsored by Gary & Cathy Rozek. Bohemian Cabaret: Opening Evening for Bohemian Boudoir is sponsored in part by Western Fraternal Life, Vitality Fitness & Dance, Z102.9, and A Touch of Class.