An Austrian First World War Air Force Commemorative Medal
Bronze, obverse illustrating a bi-plane flying over the countryside, a sunrise in the distance, inscribed "VIRIBUS-UNITIS" above and engraver marked "GURSCHNER" below, reverse illustrating the two-headed Austrian eagle insignia with a shield on its chest inscribed "FÜR DIE ÖSTERR. LUFTFLOTTE", 27 mm, folded period ribbon with pinback, spotting, near extremely fine. Footnote: Gustav Gurschner (1873–1970) was an Austrian sculptor active in the decorative arts. He studied under August Kühne and Otto König at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna. He married the writer Alice Pollak in 1897. In 1898, he participated in the inaugural exposition of the Vienna Secession. From 1904 to 1908, he was part of the Hagenbund, a group of like-minded Austrian artists. His body of work consists of functional objects such as ashtrays, electric lamps, door knockers, and doorknobs. Gurschner's style was influenced by the sinuous lines of Art Nouveau and the symmetry of the Wiener Werkstätte. In 1914, Gurschner designed medals and uniforms for the sovereign prince of Albania, Wilhelm zu Wied. In July, he raised and led a small army of 150 volunteers to help the prince fight of rebels who laid siege to his capital of Durrës.