LONDON – On April 30, Lyon & Turnbull will offer an important collection of studio and contemporary glass from a private European collection. The consignment, part of its Modern Made auction, features works by leading names in the field from Italy, Britain, Sweden, Japan, and the United States. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The studio glass movement is still relatively young, with its origins rooted in the 1960s. Proponents of this school aimed to move the production of glass from an industrial process to individual workshops with the focus on glass objects as works of art. Today, close to 60 years since Harvey Littleton established a glassmaking studio in the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio, it is a revered and a much-collected international art form.
The collection, which will be sold in 33 lots, was assembled by an international collector in the 1990s. It forms part of a 60-lot selection of modern and contemporary glass from three vendors that begins with a 1962 vase by Fulvio Bianconi (1915-96) and closes with two large vases made by Massimo Micheluzzi (b.1957-) in 2005.
The name Lino Tagliapietra (b.1934-) epitomizes everything that studio glass movement stands for. The Italian maestro qualified as a maestro vetraio (master glassmaker) in his early 20s and enjoyed 30 years working alongside the leading glass manufacturers in Murano before pursing his path as a studio artist from the late 1970s. The sale features a noteworthy group of 14 works by Tagliapietra that span the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Estimates range from £1,500-£2,500 for a 41cm (16in) hand blown battuto glass vase from 1993 to £6,000-£8,000 for a slightly larger vase signed and dated “Murano 1985.”
Two typical Dale Chihuly (b.1941) works, Baskets, which consists of a group of six graduated yellow and burgundy vessels from 1992, and Sea Form, a three-piece form in blown clear glass inlaid with white lines from 1985, will feature in the auction. They carry estimates of £8,000-£12,000 and £2,000-£3,000, respectively.
Other well-known American glass artists represented include William Morris (b.1957-) whose Artifact Tooth from 1993 is estimated at £4,000-£6,000, and Steve Tobin (b.1957-) whose monumental 2.1m (6ft, 8in) white glass and steel Cocoon, sculpted between 1990 and 1995, is estimated at £3,000-£5,000.
Equally recognizable are the creations of Toots Zynsky (b.1951), best known for her super-colorful thermo- formed vessels using the filet-de-verre technique, and the dreamlike forms of Tennessee glassblower Richard Jolley (b.1952), creator of the massive glass-and-steel assemblage in the Great Hall of the Knoxville Museum of Art. Two pieces by Zynsky from 1994 are estimated at £6,000-£8,000 each, with three pieces by Jolley, including the 55cm (21in)-Visionary, dating to 1992 and estimated at £4,000-£6,000.
Born in Tokyo in the immediate post war era, Yoichi Ohira (b.1946-) has spent the greater part of his career in Venice, combining in his work the bright colors of Muranese glass with the restrained forms of Japanese applied arts. After holding the position of artistic director at Murano’s de Majo glassworks, he became an independent artist in 1992. His diminutive 1995 bowl, signed by both Ohira and the master glassblower Livio Serena, is expected to sell for £4,000-£6,000.
Bertil Vallien (b.1938), Sweden’s most famous glass artist, is represented by six works – a series of unique sculptures made for the Kosta Boda glassworks in Småland, with estimates from £1,500-£4,000. Vallien’s work is often deeply symbolic, with his best-known creations being his sand cast boat forms.
Modern Made: Post War Art & Design is part of Lyon & Turnbull’s April DESIGN series, celebrating 150 years of design across four UK auctions.
Rate of exchange: GBP1 = US$ = $1.37
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