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Friday, September 24, 2010

Glass masters

1950s glass, once called “the collectibles of the future,” has lived up to its name. The exquisite bottles, bowls and vases from Europe and America that graced almost every twentieth century home have now become highly coveted collectors’ items.

Beautiful glass was created by Italians Paolo Venini, Fulvio Bianconi, Dino Martens, Aldo Nason, Flavio Poli and Carlo Scarpa. Scandinavians such as Sweden’s Sven Palmqvist and Vicke Lindstrand, Denmark’s Per Lutken and Otto Brauer, as well as Finland’s Tapia Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva and Kaj Franck satisfied America’s love of dramatic shapes in both clear glass and vibrant colors.

Produced in the United States and perhaps somewhat less exotic to middle-class Americans than European designs were the pieces that came from Blenko, Fenton and Viking. What they lacked in mystique, they made up in accessibility, because almost every mid-century home had a Blenko decanter or carafe, Fenton milk glass or a Viking swung vase.

Most of these pieces were purchased purely for their decorative value and were affordable in almost every home, marking a departure from a time when only the wealthy could own such luxuries.

Fulvio Bianconi

Carlo Scarpa

Sven Palmqvist

Per Lutken for Holmegaard - Flamingo, 1958

Otto Brauer for Holmegaard

Vicke Lindstrand for Kosta

Tapio Wirkkala for Iittala

Timo Sarpaneva "Devil's Eye" for Iittala, 1951

Blenko decanter by Wayne Husted, 1959

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