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Steuben Blue "Aurene" Ribbed Glass Vase, Vessel, Iridescent Marked

About the Item

Beautiful Steuben blue Aurene vase with ribbed rim open top.

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    Ships From: Los Angeles, CA
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About the Seller
Located in Los Angeles, CA
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Established in 1993
1stDibs seller since 2005
195 sales on 1stDibs
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20th Century Specialists
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Quezal artisans created an extensive range of decorative and useful items, including vases, compotes, finger bowls, open salts, candle holders, and shades for lighting fixtures, which are equivalent in terms of beauty and quality of craftsmanship to Tiffany’s Favrile and Carder’s Aurene glass. In recent years, glass collectors have discovered anew the special charms and appeal of Quezal art glass, and collector desirability for this lovely glassware has increased dramatically. The Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company was incorporated a century ago, on March 27, 1902. It was founded by Martin Bach, Sr., Thomas Johnson, Nicholas Bach, Lena Scholtz, and Adolph Demuth. The factory was located on the corner of Fresh Pond Road and Metropolitan Avenue in Maspeth, Queens, New York. In October 1902, the trademark “Quezal” was successfully registered. By 1904, roughly fifty glassworkers were employed at the works. Born in 1862 in Alsace-Lorraine to German parents, he emigrated to the United States in 1891. Before his emigration, Bach worked in Saint-Louis, France, at the Saint-Louis Glass Factory. After Bach arrived in this country, he was hired by Louis C. Tiffany as the latter’s first batch-mixer or chemist at the newly established Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company, in Corona, Queens. After a period of about eight years, Bach left Tiffany and established his own glassworks. By this time, Bach had already started his small family. To this day, the belief still exists that there once existed a man named Quezal, who worked for Louis C. Tiffany, and it is after him that Quezal glass is named. In truth, however, the founders of the Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company named the company and its products after one of the world’s most beautiful birds, the elusive and rare quetzal, which dwells in the treetops of the remote tropical forests of Central America. A rare company promotional brochure provides a vivid description of the quetzal: Of all the birds of the America’s, it is the most gorgeous. No more splendid sight is to be seen in all the world than a quezal, flying like a darting flame through the depths of a Central American forest. Its back is of a brilliant metallic green, so vivid it shines even in the twilight of the woods like a great emerald and its breast is a crimson so deep and bright that every motion of the wonderful creature is a flashing of rubies among the trees and giant creepers. It bears a true golden crown upon its head – a helmet of bright yellow and green, shaped just as the helmet of old Aztec kings were shaped. Its tail is composed of lacelike plumes, extending more than two and one-half feet beyond its body. The quezal was certainly an appropriate designation for the company’s resplendent glassware. One of the most prized characteristics of Quezal art glass is the shimmering and dazzling brilliance reflected in the iridescent surfaces on the interior as well as exterior of the glass. The radiant rainbow colors in metallic hues, including gold, purple, blue, green, and pink, to name only a few, were certainly inspired by the quetzal and its feathers. Not surprisingly, lustrous feathers, in shades of opal, gold, emerald, and blue, are among the most common decorative motifs encountered on Quezal glass. The enduring hallmark of Quezal art glass is its unique expression of the Art Nouveau style, based on organic shapes and naturalistic motifs coupled with technical perfection in the execution. Vases, compotes, drinking vessels, and shades for lighting fixtures were often fashioned to resemble flowers such as crocuses, tulips, calla lilies, casablanca lilies, and jack-in-the-pulpits. Variously colored inlaid threads of glass, pulled and twisted by hooks, simulate naturalistic floral and leaf patterns, lily pads, clover leafs, and vines. Opal, gold, and green colors prevail and the glass is generally opaque. Red is the rarest color of all. Compared with Tiffany’s Favrile glass, the crisp, vivid, and colorful decoration of Quezal art glass is distinctively precise, symmetrical, and restrained. Other Quezal wares recall shapes and styles favored in ancient Egypt, Persia, Greece, and Rome, as well as the Italian Renaissance and the Georgian period in England. This is especially true of classic-shaped vases and bowls of translucent amber glass, which have a single surface color such as iridescent gold or blue. Still, others were inspired by traditional Chinese and Japanese forms. The Gorham Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island, and the Alvin Silver Manufacturing Company in Sag Harbor, Long Island, purchased Quezal art glass, which they in turn embellished in their shops with silver overlay decoration in the fashionable Art Nouveau style and later resold. Gorham’s silver overlay designs mostly include stylized floral motifs. Alvin’s silver designs are wonderfully organic. One sumptuous design is of a group of sinuous iris blossoms with carefully articulated petals surrounded by attenuated meandering vines. Collectors should note that not all silver-deposit pieces are marked with a maker’s mark since the silversmith had to be quite careful not to damage the glass underneath. A rare 1907 retail catalog survives from Bailey, Banks, and Biddle Company, a luxury goods retailer in Philadelphia, which reveals original retail prices of Quezal art glass. A surprising revelation provided by this catalog is that Quezal art glass was nearly twice as expensive as comparable French imported glass made by such renowned firms as Gallé and Daum. Hock glasses, a stemmed glass used primarily for drinking German white wine, were sold by the dozen and retailed between $50 and $75. Fingerbowls were also sold by the dozen and retailed between $50 and $100. These high retail prices were nearly the same as those charged for Tiffany’s Favrile glass, and suggest Quezal art glass was also marketed towards the high-end or luxury market. Electricity was a brand new invention in the late 1800s and American glass manufacturers developed novel approaches for concealing the electric light bulb, which was rather harsh to the eye and perhaps unflattering to the domestic interior. Tiffany, Steuben, and Quezal responded to this need with the most extraordinary and beautiful art-glass shades, all of which were  hand-made and exquisitely fashioned. 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In 1994, these papers were donated by the children of Martin Bach, Jr., Gladyce Bach Wells, and Clifford Bach, to the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village in Millville, New Jersey. One of these documents reveals the original pattern designations, which included diamond, curl, hammered, frill, block-a-dot, reed, feather, leaf, heart, and spider. The “spider” decoration is certainly an appropriate designation for this type of glass. It is easily recognizable by the very thin threads of amber glass randomly wrapped around some vases and shades, much like a real spider would weave its web. Detailed line drawings exist for a wide variety of items and demonstrate the high level of technical skill required by Quezal artisans, who manufactured these items according to clearly prescribed specifications. Most companies that produced art glass in this country followed the lead of Louis C. 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