Winter 2017 Auction Reserve Prices Available…

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List of Unsold Lots Availble at their Reserve Price

CLICK THIS AUCTION WEBSITE LINK TO PLACE BIDS

CLICK THIS AUCTION WEBSITE LINK TO PLACE BIDS

List of Unsold Lots Availble at their Reserve Price

For a limited time unsold lots from the Winter 2017 Auction are availble at their reserve price. This is a buy-it-now event, lots can be instantly purchased. The above link is to a LIST of the reserve prices posted to dropbox. We recommend using the list alongside the digital copy of the catalog posted for easy reference. You can also go directly to the auction website and click the tab RESERVE PRICES to take any action or peruse what is availble directly on the auction website.

First the facts…

L.H. Selman, Ltd. is pleased to announce our Winter 2017, 65th Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 336 lots, antique and modern, as well as choice paperweight-related objects. Initial Bidding commences on Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 20th. The auction is fully online, hosted on our AUCTION WEBSITE. A web friendly digital e-catalog can be viewed at E-CATALOG, while a printed copy of the catalog is for sale at PRINT-CATALOG.  If you see something to your liking, please do not fail to place an initial bid in order to ensure that you have a position in the competitive bidding that follows in the second half of the auction. Initial bidding ends and competitive bidding begins on Monday, March 6th. We recommend that you give the catalog’s Conditions of Sale a careful examination for a full understanding of the protocols or give us a call to inquire about our unique auction format. You can also make an appointment to see every lot in person at our gallery in Chicago, 410 S. Michigan Ave., suite 207.  We would love to see you all in person! If you prefer to place any or all bids by phone, or have any questions, just give us a call at 1-800-538-0766.

That said…

Dear lovers of that most difficult and rewarding fine glass art form…

As you read this at the beginning of February, the L.H. Selman Winter 2017 auction catalog is winging its way to your door, and we think you will be quite pleased with the scope and quality of the offerings. Catalog #65 is also notable for its continuation of the more expressive and dimensional photography utilized in our September, 2016 catalog for the very successful and historic auction of weights from the holdings of the Art Institute of Chicago. Great job, Marty!

(Copies of the catalog from the historic sale, including works from the Arthur Rubloff Collection, are still available for your reference library.)

And now a few remarks about just a sprinkling of the highlights from our upcoming auction!

Rule Britannia…

Lot #1 leads us into the festivities – an extremely rare and well-documented Bacchus mushroom bouquet magnum. Never intended to be a production piece, this pastel-colored masterpiece is a feat of bravado, embellished with multiple torsades and representing the “personal best” by the Bacchus glassworker.  This weight has also resided in the collection of Bill Volkman, who was known to possess the finest Bacchus collection in the country.

Extremely rare antique Bacchus millefiori mushroom paperweight.

Extremely rare antique Bacchus millefiori mushroom paperweight.

No less stunning are the following examples of antique and rare artworks from the three great French houses: Saint Louis, Baccarat and Clichy all have contributed eye-catching, top-tier examples of the art form to these pages…

Prettier than a French dessert…

Lot #2 offers an extremely rare Saint Louis – a highly unusual pair of feathery pompoms presented against a hypnotic double-swirl latticinio cushion with an inner layer of translucent ruby. And that’s only part of the description of this gorgeous objet d’art!

Extremely rare Saint Louis pompoms swirl paperweight.

Extremely rare Saint Louis pompoms swirl paperweight.

As fine as any wine it would ever hold…

Lot #10, an antique Clichy looped millefiori garland and rose cane decanter is a stunning example of how far the French would go to store their finest libations in a magnificent home. Five continuous loops of contrasting complex canes, including one of edelweiss and one of 12 white roses, form a stunning millefiori garland that encircles a central pink rose cane over a sky blue ground at the base of the decanter. The pink rose and sky blue echo above in the stopper, encircled by a ring of stardust canes and a ring of purple pastry molds.  The cutting of the decanter itself is amazing with elegant fancy-cut windows that allow easy viewing of the design.  These are two works of art for the price of one!

Antique Clichy garland and rose cane decanter.

Antique Clichy garland and rose cane decanter.

Dance to the music of time…

Lot #19 this unusual and intricately painted Pinchbeck is a pastoral delight.  The costumes are difficult to pin to a specific period, which helps the timeless quality.

Pinchbeck “Pastoral Scene” painted metal paperweight.

Pinchbeck “Pastoral Scene” painted metal paperweight.

Better than the “Pear King” looked when he was alive…!

Lot #31; if you collect sulphides, this is amongst the most sophisticated and regal weights you will ever come across. This rare antique Baccarat encases a silvery cameo of the French king radiating inside a gilded dome surrounded by a ring of blue enamel beads and resting atop a ruby melon-cut footed base. Louis Philippe I had to abdicate the throne after the 1848 French Revolution.  He is best remembered today for facing the artistic wrath of the artist Daumier, in a series of caricatures where the aristocrat king morphs convincingly into a pear. Vive “La Caricature”

Rare Baccarat Louis Philippe sulphide gilded paperweight.

Rare Baccarat Louis Philippe sulphide gilded paperweight.

Nothing beats a hard-to-find classic…

Lot #34 is an exquisite and extremely rare example of the art of millefiori.  This 1849 dated, tightly packed assortment of canes sports Gridel silhouettes of a half dozen domesticated animals scattered amongst a panoply of more traditional shapes and symbols. A surprising interior cushion of more complex millefiori can be seen through the occasional and very slight spacing of the surface canes.  Looks like you’ll have to come in and see this one!

Rare and unusual Baccarat 1849 millefiori paperweight.

Rare and unusual Baccarat 1849 millefiori paperweight.

And Just a Bit more Recently….

I feel the earth, move, under my feet…

Lot #78 is the first of over a dozen works in Auction 65 created by the grand master of the modern paperweight, Paul Stankard.  It is a floating world of fecundity delicately harbored within a transparent monolith of fine crystal. Pink-speckled blossoms and buds nestled with green leaves and tendrils comb through the soil to relate to humans who are as much a part of the earth as any root system.  A sense of weightlessness is enhanced by the addition of a second patch of earth supporting a gathering a three blue-speckled blossoms.

Paul Stankard botanical paperweight.

Paul Stankard botanical paperweight.

Ripe, and ready for your table…

Lot #90 finds David Graeber in fine form with a lavish but compact and careful arrangement of succulent raspberries and other fruits and delicate mosses and leaves entwined with purple lilac clusters and three dominant white calla lilies.

David Graeber 2014 fruit and floral paperweight.

David Graeber 2014 fruit and floral paperweight.

A well represented modern master…

We must mention that Rick Ayotte is wonderfully represented here by no fewer than 18 works, ranging from his studies of single birds to a celebration of a royal blue butterfly to a homage to a very robust yellow spider and then on to lush floral studies.

Lot#102 by Ayotte is slightly atypical with an American beauty red rose floating elegantly and forever within a clear lozenge.

Rick Ayotte 1996 American Beauty rose paperweight.

Rick Ayotte 1996 American Beauty rose paperweight.

Lot #120 offers three luminous modern Saint Louis perfume bottles.  Delicately engraved and sporting classic latticinio and millefiori canes, these works are an exuberant celebration of the decorative arts.

Saint Louis 1985 & 1995 millefiori perfume bottles.

Saint Louis 1985 & 1995 millefiori perfume bottles.

Fine art for the armchair traveller…

Lot # 201 offers fine gold, the thrill of history, travel and the chance to own your architectural wonder!  This 24-karat gold inclusion of the mask of Agamemnon presides over a turquoise tinted Acropolis, and was designed by Gilbert Poillerat.

Saint Louis 1981 gold mask Greek temple paperweight.

Saint Louis 1981 gold mask Greek temple paperweight.

This ladybug will never leave you…

Lot 317 presents a Caithness ladybug, by William Manson, that will never leave your hand (provided you don’t put the weight down) and her coat is perfectly complemented against the rich teal background and green leaves with lavender berries.  A delight.

Caithness Glass “Ladybird” paperweight, by William Manson.

Caithness Glass “Ladybird” paperweight, by William Manson.

The world at the end…of our catalog

Lot #336 is the world at the end of time – that’s right, our final entry for this auction.  The sense of depth achieved in this vast tiny sphere is close to unbelievable; it’s a complex, multicolored vortex that draws your eye in and pulls it around to explore the edges of the solar system without having to leave home!

Gateson Recko 2004 solar system marble.

Gateson Recko 2004 solar system marble.

The rest of the auction comprises a who’s who amongst the contemporary field including Tarsitano, Grubb, Trabucco, Richardson, Kaziun, Hunter, MacNaught, Ysart, Ebelhare… and THE LIST GOES ON! Our apologies for the lack of time and space to mention everyone, but we tried hard to properly showcase all the works with carefully crafted photographs and thoughtfully considered descriptions that should please our artists, our consignors, and especially you- our clients and collectors.  Please enjoy the catalog and do call us with absolutely any questions.  Also know that we will, upon request, send you extra photographs providing multiple viewpoints to help you in your considerations.

And as the motto above the entrance to the over 130-year old Fine Arts Building states “ALL PASSES…ART ALONE ENDURES.” We thank all of you for sharing this passion with us.  And…good hunting!

Your friends at L.H. Selman,

Ben, Penelope, Marty, Paul and Molly…and DJ.

 

Through A Glass (Paperweight) Darkly

The Perils of Purchasing a Perfect Paperweight!

Would you kill for your Queen? Or King?  How about for a likeness of her— A sulphide encased in fine crystal?  Would you steal from a trusted relative?

Would you kill an old gentleman in a retirement village simply for the view from his room, and steal his single remaining rare antique paperweight as a trophy?

Antique collecting in general and antique paperweights specifically conjure up a sense of the gentle and refined, a rarified world of polite manners and erudition.  Images of paddles raised silently at Sotheby’s, Christies, and yes, L.H. Selman.  (Wait – did you miss our historic auction of paperweights from the Art Institute of Chicago this past September where the bidding flew fast and furious?).  For information on selling at our auctions contact http://www.theglassgallery.com/sell-paperweights/

To see the offerings of our current auction, #65, Winter, 2017, go to www.selman.com/auction.

So, with all that veneer of elegant manners and good breeding it’s good to be reminded from time to time that art collectors are people too!  Just because someone has the aesthetic sense to acquire rare Clichy, Saint Louis and Baccarat crystal paperweights from either our Michigan Avenue gallery in Chicago, or from our thrice-yearly auctions, doesn’t mean that they only read Shakespeare.  In fact, if they are devotees of the Bard, it is actually much more likely that they have room in their hearts for “murder most foul.”  Maybe you shouldn’t be showing off your “to die for” collection of fine glass paperweights to too many people!

Reinforcing this notion of being a little careful with your rare and antique concentric millefiori, mushrooms, torsade twists, crown swirls, royal sulphides, tri-color bouquets and quatrefoil garlands—all caressed into little domes of heated fine crystal—are a few volumes on our library shelves that some of you may not be aware of, and a couple of them were published by our own Paperweight Press! See all our available publications at http://www.theglassgallery.com/ Read and learn!

Unfortunately, L.H. Selman has sold out of these titles, but they are certainly worth looking out for as charming gifts to high-minded lovers of fine glass who might not otherwise become aware of the sinister possibilities that can arise, when the love of collectible paperweights is taken too far…

P.G. Wodehouse is a household name in the literary world, regarded by many to be the finest comic author of his time.  In the Purloined Paperweight, (originally published in 1967 and reprinted by Mr. Larry Selman in 1986, Wodehouse leads us on a delightful romp through the world of human foibles wrapped in a mystery over a missing antique paperweight.

P. G. Wodehouse | Glass Paperweight P. G. Wodehouse | Glass Paperweight

The other Paperweight Press offering, The Curse of the Imperial Paperweights (1995) comes from one of the most respected collectors and authorities in the field, Mr. George N. Kulles.  The author did extensive biographical research into the lives of many of the world’s best-known and historically important collectors, and wove their stories and collections into a lively and informative entertainment that begins its narrative at Sotheby’s, Chicago and weaves through several generations of paperweight lovers, all of whom made their marks on history.

The Curse of the Imperial Paperweights | Glass Paperweight

The Curse of the Imperial Paperweights | Glass Paperweight

The third title, The Weight of Death (2016), is by Nicky Stratton and addresses the aforementioned black heart who just might have murdered an old man in hopes of getting his apartment and who takes his rare paperweight as a trophy!

The Weight of Death | Glass Paperweight

Maybe you should read these in a locked room— with your weights tucked round you…

http://www.theglassgallery.com/

Something About Collecting Paperweights

Must Inspire Generosity

Recently the L.H. Selman Gallery worked with the Art Institute of Chicago to reallocate part of the museum’s collection of paperweights back into private circulation, with all monies accruing from the hammer prices going directly to the AIC for further acquisitions.  That catalogue of the historic sale on Saturday, September 17th, 2016, is still available for your reference library at http://www.theglassgallery.com/

Included in the catalogue are four brief biographies of four of the most prominent families in Chicago’s history. Pauline and Potter Palmer II donated the use of their fabled mansion on Lake Shore Drive to the American Red Cross during the Second World War to be used as a training facility for teaching surgical dressings. And the Children’s Home & Aid Society offers the Pauline K. Palmer Award for exceptional commitment and service to families.  Ella Grace Burdick was always busy with charitable endeavors and she left 26 charitable bequests on her passing in 1960 at the age of 90.  And Lucy B. Kretchmer’s life was filled with public service, and her wake was held at Chicago’s St. Chrysostom’s on the Gold Coast.

But today we want to share a little story about the generosity of Mr. Arthur Rubloff, who left the Chicago Art Institute the most valuable and historic glass paperweight collection to ever enter a museum; http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/expanded-gallery-arthur-rubloff-collection-paperweights.

He also left a collection of bronzes to the same institution valued in the millions. And yes – he also left the AIC a bequest of millions of dollars…but sometimes those acts are difficult to relate to from the sheer magnitude of the events.  Here’s something still impressive in scale but also impressive in its off-hand immediacy…

On a cold, cold day in the 1980s, clothiers Joe Silverberg and his brother Gene were set to open their flagship store, Bigsby & Kruthers at 1750 North Clark in Chicago. They had success at their other smaller locations and were respected throughout the industry and stood out as pioneering a fashion-forward sense with a European edge. Also They had leased the space from the Arthur Rubloff Co. and the Hilton organization, and they were leveraged to the hilt to reach that point.

They were almost ready, with fixtures and inventory slated for prompt arrival, to fill the huge, three-story venue. And they were dead in the water.

Shortly before the opening date, with all their sources of revenues tapped out, the unthinkable happened. One of Chicago’s colder winters saw fit to burst the pipes and plumbing, resulting in serious flood damage to every floor. Joe remembers being completely despondent. There was no relief in sight.

While Joe and his brother are slumped in his office, Arthur Rubloff unexpectedly walks in – dressed as always, “to the nines.” Joe remembers him dressed in grey, impeccably tailored, including his derby – of course everything matching. “He was beautiful to see,” says Joe. Rubloff, Joe said, was so sartorially fanatical, he would send his favorite clothes to Manhattan for proper dry cleaning.

“Why the long faces?” Rubloff asked.  Joe told him.

“What will it take to see you through this?” Arthur continued.

“$100,000.00,” replied Joe immediately, with no sense of where that money could possibly come from.

Rubloff immediately walked over and picked up the phone and called the Lake Shore Bank on Michigan Avenue, where he was a member of the board. Joe heard him say, “Let me talk to…” Then Rubloff spoke again when the man came on the line. “I want a check made out to Joe Silverberg for $100,000.00, and I want it here inside of an hour.”

It was done.  Bigsby’s opened on schedule and—unbelievably in big business—the loan was repaid without a dollar in interest.

Thought you’d like to know.

http://www.theglassgallery.com/blog/

Renowned Surrealist Photographer as Classical Sculptor of Baccarat Sulphides

Books Provide a Wealth of Information !

One of the interesting aspects of the art world is when top tier artists cross over to other related fields.  The renowned photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson considered himself a draughtsman.  Picasso wrote a wartime play in which feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir debuted one of the roles . Edward Ruscha the hyper successful artist launched his acting career in filmmaker Alan Rudolph’s cult hit “Choose Me.”

But it may be a bit surprising to some to find that our own very specifically defined art field of fine glass paperweights has a connection to a world-class artist from the world of modern photography.  The talented and beautiful Dora Maar was also a painter and one of the great loves and muses of the aforementioned Picasso,  (a portrait of her by the master sold in 2006 for almost one hundred million dollars) But her personal claim to artistic fame is as a photographer, whose vintage works are now treasured and highly sought after.  She was an important contributor to the Surrealist movement and her visionary photographs have sold for as much as $216,000 in the marketplace.

It seems unusual to find that a celebrated symbol of all that is avant-garde was also a gifted sculptor, contributing two of the well-known, classically rendered examples of the art of sulphide portraiture to that re-emerging field.  Her sulphides, of English Prime Minister Winston Churchill and General Robert E. Lee, the leader of the Confederate Army, were created in 1954 for Baccarat. The very accomplished likenesses reveal a sense of strength, nobility and determination in the two major historic figures.

churchill sulphide

The first mention we came across of Dora Maar was in Sulphides, the 1968 book by Paul Jokelson, the man credited with having personally convinced the great French glass houses to revive and revitalize the 19th century paperweight phenomenon.

(Later Jokelson would aid Arthur Rubloff in assembling his world-class paperweight collection which resides in our own Art Institute of Chicago.) On page 125, Jokelson writes of an array of works, “These cameos were sculptured by three great French artiists: Gilbert Poillerat, Dora Maar, and Albert David.”

Lawrence Selman himself mentions Dora Maar in his handsomely produced book, The Art of the Paperweight, published by the Paperweight Press in 1988, with but a single sentence, “Dora Maar(sometimes spelled Mar), a protégée of Picasso, also designed two sulphides for Baccarat.”

leesulphide

Paul Dunlop, a longtime specialist and authority on paperweights comes to the rescue of the mystery as to exactly which two pieces Maar created, on pages 146 and 147 of his invaluable volume, Baccarat Paperweights: two centuries of beauty, published in 2013.  He also provides the year both were made – 1954.  Maar chose to sign these weights with the alternate spelling of “Mar” for reasons unknown.

Just thought you’d find it interesting…

Schedule of Events for 2017…

A schedule of events not to be missed in 2017!

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January 28, 2017 – May 20, 2017: Currently running at the Pearl Fincher Museum is a wonderful exhibit of glass paperweights from a prominent collection in Houston. The exhibit features antique and modern examples of the highest caliber as well as photographs on loan from the Selman gallery. This is not to be missed if you are in the area. For more information click http://www.pearlmfa.org/current-exhibitions.html

March 18th, 10:30 – 3pm: The Midwest Paperweight Collectors Spring Meeting is not to be missed. Hosted at a prominent collectors home in Wisconsin is a rare collection of glass paperweight artist John Parsley’s work. Also in attendance will be artist Cathy Richardson who’s work deserves an up close look. For more information click over to their website: http://www.midwestpaperweightcollectors.com/events/march-18-2017-mpc-spring-meeting-at-the-home-of-collector/

April 8th : Ben Clark from LH Selman is bringing Andrew Najarian as the guest artist to the Delaware Valley PCA meeting.  DVPCA is terrific organization run by passionate paperweight people, if you are in the area we highly recommend attending this meeting and joining the group while you’re there. Andrew Najarian is an accomplished glass worker with experience from all facets (pun intended) of the glass community. As a teacher as well, he gives great presentations… so do not cut this meeting from your calendar! http://dvpaperweights.org/wp/

April 22nd : Accomplished millefiori paperweight maker and all around glass master Mike Hunter will be in Chicago with is wife Sue before heading to the PCA convention. A reception will be hosted at the Selman gallery for Mike so please join us for an intimate chance to get to know Mike and his work up close. More details about this event will be released in the coming weeks. To see Mike’s work click HERE.

April 26-29 : The PCA convention is in Norfolk Virginia this year. The details for the event are best listed out on their website found HERE, but take it from us.. do not miss this event. Every artist and collector who is looking to learn and see first hand new works offered through the dealer booths, will want to be there early and often. The location presents a wonderful opportunity to see a part of this great country while enjoying a schedule of events that top any glass paperweight enthusiasts wish list.

May 6th : After Mike Hunter wows the crowds in Chicago and at the convention in Norfolk, he will continue on to the New England Paperweight Collectors Association meeting. Details can be found on their website HERE. If you are unable to see Mike at either of the mentioned events we stress not to miss this last opportunity to see him in person this year. We are grateful that Mike and his wife Sue have joined us state-side this year, don’t take this for granted and make your way to the NEPCA to see him!

September 23rd : Last on this list, but without a doubt not least… join us in Chicago for this rare opportunity to see Alison Ruzsa perform a hands on demo at Talisman Studio. Talisman has been an amazing ally to the Selman gallery, now offering their studio for the 3rd time since we arrived in Chicago. Their terrific facilities have allowed our artists to showcase their awesome skills, and this is another opportunity for just that! Alison’s techniques are original and awe inspiring. The scene’s she sets deserve a close look, and what better way than to see her at work in person. The Selman gallery will host a reception for Alison that weekend as well, so if you love Alison please contact the Midwest PCA and the Selman gallery to reserve your spot. http://www.midwestpaperweightcollectors.com/

Unsold Lots Available at Reserve Prices…

CLICK THIS AUCTION WEBSITE LINK TO PLACE BIDS

CLICK THIS AUCTION WEBSITE LINK TO PLACE BIDS

CLICK to view the LIST of RESERVE PRICES

L.H. Selman, Ltd. is excited to announce our Fall 2016, 64th Glass Paperweight Auction, featuring 336 lots, antique and modern, as well as some choice paperweight-related objects. The auction is fully online, hosted on our AUCTION WEBSITE. A web friendly digital e-catalog can be viewed at E-CATALOG. Initial bidding starts today October 24th, and will end on Monday, November 7th. If you see something to your liking, do not hesitate to place an initial bid in order to ensure your position in the ensuing competitive bidding that follows in the second half of the auction. (We recommend that you give the catalog careful examination for a full understanding of the protocols.) You can also see every lot in person at our gallery in Chicago, 410 S. Michigan Ave., #207. If it’s possible for you, we would love to see you in person! If you prefer to place bids by phone or you have any questions , just give us a call at 1-800-538-0766. Continue reading

Art Institute of Chicago to sell 400 paperweights from its permanent collection

Art Institute of Chicago to sell 400 paperweights from its permanent collection

Antique Clichy close packed millefiori in pink and white stave basket paperweight. From the Rubloff Collection. Good condition, bruise to side. Diameter 3 1/4”

Antique Baccarat Napoleon III with red and white torsade faceted paperweight. From the Rubloff Collection. Good condition. Diameter 3 1/16”

Antique Baccarat Napoleon III with red and white torsade faceted paperweight. From the Rubloff Collection. Good condition. Diameter 3 1/16”

Antique Baccarat blue primrose star-cut paperweight. From the Rubloff Collection. Excellent condition. Diameter 2 9/16”

Antique Baccarat blue primrose star-cut paperweight. From the Rubloff Collection. Excellent condition. Diameter 2 9/16”

On Saturday, September 17th, 2016, Chicago’s L.H. Selman Gallery is auctioning close to 400 glass paperweights that had been part of the Art Institute of Chicago’s permanent collection. The artwork on the block had been donated to the Institute by Arthur Rubloff, Potter and Pauline Palmer, Ella Grace Burwick and Lucy K. Kretchmer. According to Benjamin Clark, CEO and owner of L.H. Selman, the non-profit organization helping to create awareness of glass paperweights as an art form known as The Glass Paperweight Foundation “will receive 100-percent of the net proceeds of the buyer’s premium.” (The buyer’s premium is an additional cost a buyer pays when they win a lot. In this case it will be between 20-25% of the hammer price.) According to Christopher Monkhouse, the Eloise W. Martin Chair and Curator, Department of European Decorative Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago: “The net proceeds of the sale of will be used towards to purchase of artwork for the Art Institute of Chicago.” Monkhouse also explains that “deaccessioning artwork is a very sensitive matter for museums, but in rare occasions they are forced to do it, particularly when the collection is too large or a substantial number of close duplicates are kept in storage.” Case in point, Arthur Rubloff regularly acquired entire series of paperweights for one specific item, this eccentric practice naturally added sizeable numbers of duplicates to his collection. In 2012 after the Museum expanded the Arthur Rubloff Paperweight Gallery many of these paperweights were sent to storage because great examples were already on display. The museum is putting the duplicates back the in the hands of the public. Continue reading

Constable: Meet the ‘Frankenstein’ of pretty paperweights

This rare Baccarat commemorative paperweight from 1858 sold at an L.H. Selman auction last year for $55,000. On Sept. 17, an auction will feature nearly 400 paperweights from the Art Institute of Chicago, with bidding starting at $1,000.

This rare Baccarat commemorative paperweight from 1858 sold at an L.H. Selman auction last year for $55,000. On Sept. 17, an auction will feature nearly 400 paperweights from the Art Institute of Chicago, with bidding starting at $1,000.

Somewhere under the clutter of papers on my desk in the newsroom is a glass paperweight about to be laid to waste by the “Frankenstein of Cary.”

“There’s a night-and-day difference between paperweights. There are paperweights like the one on your desk that are worth maybe 35 cents, and then there are the ones at the Art Institute of Chicago,” says this Frankenstein, who earns his title as a heavyweight in the paperweight world. “I got the nickname because the dealers created a monster when I outbid them at auctions.”

He may intimidate paperweight peers, but I’m withholding his real name not out of personal fear but because Frankenstein is an otherwise polite 71-year-old retired chemical industry executive who doesn’t want strangers to know he owns a collection of valuable antique paperweights, including some worth more than my car.

He’s about to get a chance to add museum-worthy gems to his collection, thanks to next month’s auction of paperweights that reside at the Art Institute of Chicago.

“This has never happened before. Never in the history of paperweights has there ever been an opportunity to purchase museum-quality artwork,” says Ben Clark, owner of L.H. Selman, the extensive paperweight gallery in Chicago, which is hosting the auction. “These are essentially near-duplicates of what’s on display (in the Art Institute’s Arthur Rubloff Collection of Paperweights). Some of these will go for five figures.”

The auction of 400 paperweights, bundled in lots of two to four with bidding beginning at $1,000, begins at noon Sept. 17 with bidders competing in a live auction at 900 S. Clinton St. in Chicago, and worldwide online, by phone and through absentee bids.

These four glass paperweights are indicative of the quality of about 400 paperweights currently at the Art Institute of Chicago that will be auctioned off to the public on Sept. 17. While some individual paperweights are expected to be worth five figures, bidding on groups of two to four begins at photo1,000.

These four glass paperweights are indicative of the quality of about 400 paperweights currently at the Art Institute of Chicago that will be auctioned off to the public on Sept. 17. While some individual paperweights are expected to be worth five figures, bidding on groups of two to four begins at photo1,000.

The majority of the auction features 19th-century works, but it also includes some 20th-century pieces and some made by contemporary artists.

To register or get more information, phone (800) 538-0766 or visit the L.H. Selman website at theglassgallery.com.

“This auction is an absolutely great opportunity for a new collector to find an antique weight,” Frankenstein says. “This is the chance of a lifetime for someone who is interested in the finest, rarest things.”

The Cary collector got his start in the hobby when he was in his 20s.

“I wanted things that everybody didn’t know about. The first paperweight I ever bought was at a farm sale in Kansas,” he says, remembering how he took his bidding cues from paperweight dealers. “They came to this farm in the middle of Kansas. I just outbid the dealers.”

Hooked, he learned more through research and books, such as “The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights,” by Paul H. Dunlop. Frankenstein still has his original paperweight.

The first paperweight purchased by a collector known as the "Frankenstein of Cary" more than 40 years ago turned out to be a rare Clinchy Fantasy Flower. The collector, who earned his nickname by outbidding other dealers, who said they had created a monster, figures this paperweight probably could fetch "The 0,000 today. - Courtesy of 'Frankenstein'

The first paperweight purchased by a collector known as the “Frankenstein of Cary” more than 40 years ago turned out to be a rare Clinchy Fantasy Flower. The collector, who earned his nickname by outbidding other dealers, who said they had created a monster, figures this paperweight probably could fetch “The 0,000 today. – Courtesy of ‘Frankenstein’

“The first one I bought was a Clichy flower,” he says of the colorful flower encased in glass and made between 1846 and 1850. “I didn’t realize it at the time, but it turned out to be a very rare and hard-to-find Clichy Fantasy Flower.”

Another of his favorites is a “scrambled” piece by Italian artist Pietro Bigaglia. The paperweight features lots of colorful and intricate items, including a crown, since it was made for the Queen of Greece to commemorate her visit to Venice on Sept. 30, 1845.

“What a nice souvenir,” Frankenstein says.

But sentiment doesn’t play a role in his collections, he insists, telling of how he recently passed up a chance to buy a box full of interesting paperweights because none was worth more than a few dollars.

“There are some paperweights that I bought for a couple hundred that are worth more than $10,000 now. I don’t buy anything without value,” he proclaims, pausing a moment before offering an admission. “But you can get hooked on the beauty of them. Each one is unique.”

It's easy to figure out when this paperweight was made. Italian artist Pietro Bigaglia included the date of Sept. 30, 1845, and a tiny crown to commemorate a visit to Venice by the king and queen of Greece. - Courtesy of 'Frankenstein'

It’s easy to figure out when this paperweight was made. Italian artist Pietro Bigaglia included the date of Sept. 30, 1845, and a tiny crown to commemorate a visit to Venice by the king and queen of Greece. – Courtesy of ‘Frankenstein’

With maybe 15,000 19th-century paperweights still around, and a couple thousand collectors, the market, as it did originally, caters to an aristocratic crowd not concerned with practicality.

“I think people who collect them collect them because of their beauty and their rarity,” Frankenstein says. “What would you use a paperweight for today? I can’t think of one thing.”

Source: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160830/news/160839973/

Rare fine-art paperweights to be auctioned here

Rare fine-art paperweights to be auctioned here

Among the rareties in the upcoming auction are Paul Stankard’s 1984 Morning Glories, at left; an antique Baccarat blue primrose star-cut paperweight from the Rubloff Collection, top right; and a Baccarat Napoleon III with red and white torsade faceted weight, also from the Rubloff Collection.

Rare paperweights, many from the 19th century and held in private collections by prominent Chicagoans, will be auctioned off this week.

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