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Featured Item Chandelier 00997
with details

French 24-arm
chandelier, c 1900
Baccarat crystal
45" w x 60" h

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chandelier 00997

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Reference Information on Pieces in Our Collection
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Marius Ernest Sabino, born in Sicily in 1878, moved with his family to France while a young boy. He studied at both l'Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs and l'Ecole des Beaus Arts. In the early 1920s he started a business creating wood and bronze fittings (his father was a wood sculptor) but quickly moved into glass work. and produced both architectural lighting and objets d'art during the 1920s and 30s. Sabino's Parisian showroom was at 17 Rue St Gilles.

He perfected new technology in molding techniques and his designs were produced either by mold-blowing or press-molding. In 1925 he created an opalescent blue-hued glass that suggested clouds in blue skies. His principal competitor was Rene Lalique.

He designed and made special lighting for the luxury cruise ship Ile de France in 1927. In 1936 he was commissioned to produce all the glasswork for the electrical lighting for the Shah of Persia (Iran)

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"Sang de boeuf," French for buffalo or cow blood and also called flambé glaze, first created in China during the Ming Dynasty, was widely imitated in Europe during the 19th century, especially in the Sèvres, France porcelain factory. The glossy, rich, blood-red glaze is created by using reduction of copper and iron oxides at high temperature during the firing process. Under optimal reducing conditions, the copper oxide gathers gathers into colloidal particles, producing bright rich red and red-purple colors.

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Satsuma porcelain gets its name from Satsuma, southernmost province of Kyushu Island, Japan. The 17th century prince of Satsuma brought potters from Korea to establish the now-famous pottery kiln. Satsuma is referred to alternatively as "pottery" and "porcelain" but is actually somewhere in between. It is a type of porcelain produced at lower temperatures than traditional porcelain but higher temperatures than would typically be used to make pottery.

The ongoing patronage of the prince's family, the Shimazu family, popularized Satsuma porcelain. Satsuma porcelain is also produced in Kyoto.

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Charles Schneider apprenticed with Daum Freres and worked primarily within the Art Nouveau style. After serving in World War I he opened a glass works at Epinay-sur-Seine with his brother Ernest.

Charles Schneider's work moved from Art Nouveau to a more modern form characterized by flamboyant color and dramatic designs.He developed two lines of glass, one signed Schneider or Schneider France, the other signed variously as Le Verre Français, Charder (a contraction of his first and last name). He maintained total control over the production of Schneider line and allowed his artisans more leeway in execution of his Le Verre Français line.

Charles Schneider's art glass is all hand-blown, exceedingly varied, and uses every known decorative glass technique . His factory closed before World War II. After the war his son reopened the company and changed its direction to working primarily with clear glass designs.

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The manufactory, begun in 1740 in the town of Vincennes sought to make fine porcelain but had no source for the kaolin clay used by porcelain makers in other countries, so they developed a porcelain paste that allowed for the creation of fine objects although they were a little more breakable than their kaolin-based counterparts. Louis 1v, seeking to have France produce finer porcelain than Dresden or Meissen took the manufactory under his wing and moved it to Sevres, near the home of his mistress Madame de Pompadour. After the Revolution, the factory was nationalized. During the economic devastation following the Revolution the factory nearly closed, but was resurrected during the reign of Napoleon Bonaparte by a new, well-educated director, Alexandre Brongniart. Additionally, a French source for kaolin had been found near Limoges. Soft-paste porcelain was abandoned in favor of hard-paste kaolin porcelain and Brongniart developed a new type of kiln that was both more cost effective. Brongniart presided over Sevres' resurrection for four decades, catering to Napoleon and the ruling class, but, more importantly, developing mid-priced wares for the burgeoning middle class.

Brongniart developed many new types of wares including numerous vase designs, and new designs for tableware sets that incorporated themes. Many artists were employed to decorate the porcelain. The variety of items and the emphasis on historical themes continued after Brongniart’s passing in the 1840s. An interest in "gothic" styles began during Brongniart’s tenue and continued long after his death, indeed through most of the 19th century. Historicism ruled supreme at Sevres until finally at fin de siecle the Art Nouveau style changed Sevres' output significantly, as it did much of the decorative arts in France and in Europe.

Queen Elizabeth II of England's predecessor, King George IV, collected the finest Sevres pieces leaving the Queen the best collection of Sevres porcelain in the world.

Today, now under the control of the French Ministry of Culture, Sevres continues to produce fine porcelain, both contemporary pieces and historical reproductions.

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spel·ter/Noun [ Confer LG. spialter, G. & Dutch spiauter. Middle Dutch speauter. Confer Pewter]
First Known Use: 1661
1. Commercial crude smelted zinc.
2. A solder or other alloy in which zinc is the main constituent.
3. zinc; especially : zinc cast in slabs for commercial use.

Spelter, or zinc, often mixed with lead, and sometimes referred to as "white metal" or "pot metal" is of less value than silver, bronze, brass, or copper. It has been in common use from the 1860s through the early 20th century to create affordable statuary, candelabra, table lamps, and other fine or decorative art items, allowing a growing middle class the opportunity to own status items similar to those of their wealthier counterparts, but at less expense. And spelter is versatile; it can be coated in a patina to make it look like higher-end bronze or silver. It is sometimes referred to as "French bronze." For the Victorians, who loved to entertain, appearance was everything.

Value of an item, however, is also determined by who made the piece and its provenance—who owned it.

Spelter is soft and breaks easily. To test for spelter, scratch the base of the piece. As Eric of Antiques Roadshow says, "If the scratch is a copper color, it's bronze. If it's silvery gray, it's spelter." Because spelter is soft, old spelter pieces may have dents and dings.

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Steuben Glass Works, an American art glass manufacturer, was founded by Thomas G. Hawkes and English glassmaker Frederick Carder during the summer of 1903 in Corning, New York. At that time Hawkes already owned the largest cut glass firm in Corning. Carder brought to the new enterprise his many years of experience designing glass for Stevens & Williams in Stourbridge, England.

In addition to introducing handmade Art Nouveau pieces, Carder also invented, and got a patent for,a new iridescent glass which he named "Aurene," combining the Latin word for gold and part of a Middle English word for sheen. Louis Comfort Tiffany was also producing an iridescent glass at this time called "Favrile."In 1905 Carder started to add color to his Aurene, beginning with cobalt blue. He created 5 Aurene colors altogether, and then went on to introduce other colors to the Steuben line, over 140 colors in 7,000 shapes.

The Steuben Glass Works produced art glass until World War I. Wartime shortages of necessary materials caused the firm to flounder, and C orning Glass bought it as a separate "Steuben division."

In 1932, perhaps partially due to the Great Depression, interest in colored art glass had begun to wane. Corning was left with a huge stock surplus of the glass which it had to heavily discount to unload. Even then not all of the stock moved, so Corning destroyed it. What a loss! With that, the Carder period came to an end. Under new management, Steuben began to focus on colorless glass.

In 1933 Steuben art direction focussed on more modern forms, and began to use a new glass developed by Corning. A new type of optical glass, with the very clinical sounding name of 10M, featured a very high refractive index that allows the full spectrum of light, including ultraviolet waves, to pass through it. This flawless lead glass is now known as Steuben Crystal.

Among the talented designers who have worked for Steuben over the years are Kiki Smith, Peter S. Aldridge, Lloyd Atkins, Inka Benton, James Carpenter, Robert Cassetti, Neil Cohen, Dan Dailey, David P. Dowler, John Dreve, Eric G. Hilton, James Houston, Beth Lipman, Dante Marioni, Ted Muehling, Donald Pollard, Taf Lebel Schaefer, Paul Schulze, George Thompson, Sidney Waugh, and Bernard X. Wolff.

The company introduced its first major engraved Steuben Crystal piece, Gazelle Bowl, in 1935. Designed by Sidney Waugh, elegant work was the first Steuben creation to reflect close artistic collaboration between glass designer and glassmaker and is on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848 – 1933), son of the founder of jeweler and luxury goods retailer Charles Lewis Tiffany [Tiffany & Co.] chose to pursue a career in the arts instead of entering the family business. Successful first as a painter, after studying with American landscapist George Inness and further study in Paris, he then moved into design, continuing to work from themes of nature. He beccame a member of the National Academy of Design in New York City, only to resign later because he thought that organization too conservative and found, with other artists, the Society of American Artists.

On an 1865 visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tiffany was struck by the rich color of ancient Roman and Syrian glass and said "Rich tones are due in part to the use of pot metal full of impurities, and in part to the uneven thickness of the glass, but still more because the glass maker of that day abstained from the use of paint".

In the years 1875-78 Tiffany was working at various Brooklyn glassmakers. It was at this time that he met fellow glassmaker John LaFarge. It was also at this time that Tiffany's glassmaking experiments began in earnest. He was fascinated with colored glass and opalescent glass, glass in which more than one color is mixed together.

Tiffany patented Favrile glass in 1880 after being exposed to the work of Emile Galle. Tiffany described Favrile thusly, "Favrile glass is distinguished by brilliant or deeply toned colors, usually iridescent like the wings of certain American butterflies, the necks of pigeons and peacocks, the wing covers of various beetles."

By 1880 he was designing beautiful glassworks in the graceful Art Nouveau style using themes from nature, primarily stained glass windows and screens. He had commissions from Mark Twain and Cornelius Vanderbilt. He designed a stained-glass screen for the reception area of Chester A Arthur's White House and the high altar in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.

His unique style became a driving force behind America's emerging Art Nouveau style, challenging the stolid Victorian style in place. Likewise, Tiffany espoused the beliefs of the European Art Nouveau movement and the English Arts and Crafts movement before, that of elevating the decorative arts to the level of fine arts, while still making it available to a wide audience.

Tiffany's style concept from the beginning, while it centered around glass, took in every element of decorative art needed to complete a space, including woodwork, metalwork, textiles and wallpapers. And Tiffany Studios employed or found the artisans to create the finished pieces.

Tiffany Glass Company, later known as Tiffany Studios, was incorporated on December 1, 1885. Tiffany was one of the few Americans to be shown in Samuel Bing's Gallery "L'Art Nouveau" in Paris. In 1902, he became art director of his father's legendary company, Tiffany & Co. in New York. At this time he began working intensively with lamps and shades for his father's company.Thomas Edison had urged him to focus on electric light production after collaborating on an earlier project. Tiffany also designed and produced glass vases, tiles, mosaics and stained-glass-windows.

One of his most famous pieces was the six-dragonfly lamp.

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Paolo Venini was a Milanese lawyer who decided to found a glass company with a Venetian antiques dealer, Giacomo Cappellin and a Murano glassworks owner. The original firm opened in 1921 as Cappellin & C. in Murano with painter Vittorio Zecchin as art director. Their simple thin-glass creations were a change from the more elaboate work done in Murano at the time and attracted patrons. However the partnership was dissolved and Venini went on to form a separate company with a new partner and art director, Napoleone Martinuzzi, a sculptor. The output of his new company was at first similar to that of the original Cappellin firm but as Paolo Venini became more involved with the design of the glass produced, he began designing new forms, and enforcing strict control over output. He also brought on board many skilled designers who worked closely to develop new designs in Modernist styles.

His brother Franco joined the firm, bringing chemistry expertise, and created several new colors and color processes. Martinuzzi, the art director, began to develop very unusual pieces using a variety of techniques including layered glass, bubble-filled glass [the tiny bubbles made the glass appear opaque], and glass paste.

Two architects, Tommaso Buzzi and Carlo Scarpa, also created many designs for Venini. Scarpa had also designed for the original Cappellin firm, and succeeded Martinuzzi as art director. A freelance artist, Tyra Lundgren, also designed for him during the early years.

Following WWII, in addition to the designs of Venini himself, thw work of Fulvio Bianconi brought the Venini name not only back to prominence, but to new heights. Many other fine designers contributed over the years including Tobia Scarpa, son of Carlo Scarpa, one of the first creative directors.

The Venini glass firm, although sold by the family in 1986, is still active today in Murano.

Among the many glassmaking techniques, both ancient and new, used over the years at Venini glass are the following:
pasta vitrea (glass paste)
lattimo (milk glass)
murrine (working withsmall bits of fused glass pieces)
filigrana (glass rods threaded with white or another color)
mosaico zanfirico and mosaico tessuto
incalmo glass (where different glass forms are melted together)
vetro pulegoso (infused with millions of bubbles, making it opaque)
tessuto (lined and ribboned)
pennelate (brushstroked)
surface treatments such as battuto (hammered), molato (smoothened), inciso (incised), or corroso (corroded)

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victorian is more a time period [1833-1903 and a little after] and a place [England, and to a lesser extant countries with strong English heritage] than a style. several styles arose during the Victorian era [the reign of Queen victoria]. Victorian styles evolved to suit the tastes of the growing bourgeoisie, prosperous professionals and businessmen with money to spend. The very rich did not tend to replace objects held in family homes for generations for fashion's sake, and the poor could not afford fashion.

Victorian designers tended to use and modify various historic styles such as Gothic, Tudor, Elizabethan, English Rococo, Neoclassical and others. The Gothic Revival and Rococo Revival style were most common. Gothic Revival [often called "Victorian Gothic"] drew upon mediaeval influences as did styles that arose during this same period in opposition to "Victorian style," the Arts and Crafts movement and the following Art Nouveau style.

Traditional Victorian design emphasized prosperity through its elaborately designed objects with historical references, as well as furnishings that began to reflect English influence in other parts of the world. "Turkey" carpets [any Oriental carpet] became common. Every elaborately made piece of furniture was adorned with curios or lace antimacassars or Paisley shawls. Victorian design was dubbed "horror vacui" [fear of empty spaces] by critic and scholar Mario Praz in his 1933 book The Romantic Agony.

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Jean Marie Verschneider (1872-1943) French sculptor and Art Deco metal worker who worked in the early part of the 20th century.

His bronze sculpture ranged from more traditional styles such as the well-known "l'Effort," wnich shows a muscular young man engaged in digging labor to the startlingly early Art Deco look of"Mecurial" of 1905 whose stylized streamlining predicted much of what was to come. Yet he was still doing more traditional works such as "The Gladiator" and "The Kid" (an image of the child star Jackie Coogan) in the 1920s.

He also produced a series of art metal vases in the Art Deco style.

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Massimo Vignelli is a design icon of the 20th century, and still actively contributing in the 21st century. His work is firmly centered in the 20th century modernist tradition. He has worked in many areas of design including graphics, furniture, housewares, public signage, corporate branding. His designs always emphasize minimalism and clean strong simple geopmetric forms.

The Milan-born designer got his degree from the Polytechnic University of Milan and came to the US first in 1957 on a fellowship and later returned with his wife Leila to New York City to start the design firm Unimark. The firm became involved with large corporate projects such as the design of all aspects of branding for American Airlines and the design of the New York City subway maps and signage[and later Washington Dc, among others].

He left the firm which had grown too big and marketing-driven to form a new firm with his wife as partner, Vignelli Associates. He has worked extensively with Knoll, developing fine furniture pieces in the Bauhaus tradition, continued his work in city subway map and signage development, worked on the new Swiss documentary film "Helvetica" about the development of the typeface, among many more projects.

His work has been exhibited and published worldwide, and is in many museum collections, among them MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.He has served in many prestigious design posts, among them president of the Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGl) and the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AlGA) and has received such high honors as the AIGA Gold Medal, the Presidential Design Award, and the National Arts Club Gold Medal for Design.

His great love of good design and abhrrence of bad design prompted him to offer as a free downloadable PDF eBook his "Canon" which you can download here.

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