Posts Tagged ‘glass’

Design | Lino (Murano Maestro) Tagliapietra

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Coronato, Murano, 2000
Estimate $10,000 > $15,000
Sculptural vessel in blown
and battuto glass
36 x 12 ins / 91.4 x 30.5 cm

Lino Tagliapietra
Modern Ceramics and Glass
Rago Arts and Auction Center
Lambertville, New Jersey, USA
Exhibition until 13th February 2015
Sale 14th February 2015

A long way from the island of Murano in the beautiful Venetian Lagoon, Lambertville can be found, as it says on the Rago website, ’midway between Philadelphia and New York City.’ In the production of fine glass objects, Murano has led the world since the 14th century. Lambertville was a thriving 19th century factory town where great quantities of a diverse range of goods – from underwear to rubber bands – were made in vast quantities. But while Murano continued to develop or refine a wide range of glass-making technologies that include crystalline glass, enamelled glass (smalto), gold-threaded glass (aventurine), multicoloured glass (millefiori), and milk glass (lattimo), in Lambertville, which had previously grown up around a once important crossing on the Delaware river, by the 1970s, commerce had waned considerably. Unsurprisingly, its quality so consistently high, Murano’s art glass and glass figurines, glass chandeliers, wine stoppers and hundreds of thousands of tourist souvenirs found their way to every corner of the world. In the meantime, once Lambertville’s factories disappeared and the town was cleaned up, its fortunes improved to such an extent that it also became a tourist destination.

Test Piece, Murano, 1984
Blown glass vase
9 x 6 ins / 22.8 x 15.2 cm

Venetian glass artist, Lino Tagliapietra was born in Murano in 1934 and, when little more than a boy, was sent to work in the island’s glass factories. Aged 21, he was granted the title Maestro (Master glass blower) and made fine items for some of the most prestigious glassworks on the island. At the Venice Biennales, which he regularly attended, Tagliapietra was fascinated by the work of Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman, and Ellsworth Kelly. In the 1960s, with supreme technical and aesthetic standards that earned him significant commercial success, he started to create his own modern artistic forms. Renowned American glass sculptor Dale Chihuly (b 1941) visited Murano in 1968, where he taught Tagliapietra the techniques he had developed, which Tagliapietra passed on to the other maestri. In return Tagliapietra taught Chihuly, the Venetians’ glassworkers secrets.

Bilbao, Murano, 2001
(Shown from three angles)
Sculptural vessel in blown
and battuto glass
23.5 x 13 in / 59.6 x 33 cm

Tagliapietra’s material of choice is effetre glass, or F3 – an abbreviated form of fratelli tre, ‘three brothers’ – is a variety of soda-lime glass. This type of material is usually used for making lamps, and is worked by using a torch to melt and shape it at 945°C. It is considered a medium-soft glass and is popular because of its wide colour range and the ease with which it is moulded and shaped. Genuine glass of this type is made by the Effetre International Company on Murano, where Tagliapieta was artistic and technical director from 1976 to 1989. But teaching has defined the artist, who first visited the United States in 1979. He has since led workshops and taught in glass programmes around the world, but especially in America – the Haystack School of Crafts, Deer Isle ME, Pilchuck Glass School, Stanwood WA, Rhode Island School of Design RI, MIT Glass Lab, Cambridge MA – but also at the Toyama Art School, Toyama, Japan, and the University of Sydney, Australia, and in many more education establishments. He set up on his own in 1990 and dedicated himself to creating unique pieces, which soon became sought after, and many of which are now in the permanent collections of some of the most eminent museums in the world, including, among many others, London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland. He is also represented in numerous galleries and private collections. In 2009, the Museum of Tacoma dedicated a major travelling retrospective exhibition to Tagliapietra’s work, which was also hosted by other American museums including: The Smithsonian, Washington DC, and the Palm Springs Art Museum, California.

Stellato glass vase,
Marseilles, 1991
12 x 6.5 x 3 ins /
30.5 x 16.5 x 7.6 cm

Aged sixteen, David Rago began dealing in American decorative ceramics at a flea market in his home state of New Jersey. Over the years, his business grew and grew, so that today, with two partners, one of whom is his wife Suzanne Perrault, he oversees Lambertville’s prestigious Rago Arts and Auction Center, dealing exclusively in 20th and 21st century antiques and collectibles. Suzanne, who is in charge of contemporary glass at Rago, and David have both visited Murano, but have yet to enjoy the pleasure of hosting Lino Tagliapietra in Lambertville. However his work has often been sold there, and on Saturday afternoon, the Modern Ceramics and Glass auction, features six of the Maestro’s key pieces.

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Happy Alvar Aalto!

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Aalto vase: 75th anniversary

It still looks like it was created yesterday but, arguably the best-known vase in the world – it could very easily be a product of the 21st century architecture/design practices of  Zaha Hadid or Frank Gehry was designed in 1936 by the most important Finnish architect of the 20th century, Alvar Aalto (1898-1976). Famous as much for his characteristically, curvy furniture designs as for his distinctive architecture, Aalto was a modernist, who fused the ideas developed at Germany’s Bauhaus and of the Dutch De Stijl group, for example, with traditional Scandinavian humanism. The result was that certainly his early creations, whatever their scale – from the Paimio Chair, 1933 – devised to ease the breathing of tubercolosis patients to his undulating, glass-fronted, Finnish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, 1939, where, incidentally, the vase made its debut – were more user-friendly, far less remote, than those of the other more rationalist moderns.

The organically-shaped glass vase was originally given the surreal name ‘The Eskimo Woman’s Leather Breeches’ by Aalto but became known as the Savoy Vase after a new luxury hotel in Helsinki that opened in 1937. Finnish glassware manufacturer Iittala market it eponymously as the Aalto Vase; each item individually mouth-blown, the design comes in a multitude of colours and sizes. It’s called a vase but apparently the most boring use for it is as a container for flowers; the owner is required to stamp something of his/her own personality on it. To me, diktats of any sort are like a red rag to a bull so, with that particular one in mind, I went out purposefully and came home with two bunches of beautiful, deep pink-red tulips, half-filled our Aalto with water and unceremoniously, pushed the stems into it. They looked colourful but, perhaps, a little sterile. Okay, I thought, maybe I should have been a bit more creative. Overnight, however – and I like to think it had something to do with the eskimo woman’s leather breeches – they sprang to life and arranged themselves prettily and naturalistically for my camera.

Do you have an Aalto vase?
What do you put it?

Please post a comment and, better still, send a picture

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