L.H. Selman Ltd. 66th Paperweight Auction

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WITH THE 4th of JULY as an OPENING PRELUDE…

We Proudly Present

Our Own Glass-Fire(d) Works!!

But seriously glass lovers, we are excited about July 5th, when the starting pistol sends up a lamp-worked flare into a millefiori sky to celebrate the first day of the

L.H. SELMAN LTD.  66th PAPERWEIGHT AUCTION

Initial bidding begins Wednesday, July 5th, 2017, at 9:00 am CST.  The last day to place initial bids is Monday, July 17th, 2017, at 5:00 pm CST. The auction is fully online, hosted on our Auction Website, which will be live soon.  A web-friendly digital e-catalog can be viewed at E-CATALOG, while a printed copy is for sale at PRINT-CATALOG.  If you see something to your liking, please do not fail to place an initial bid to ensure that you secure a position in the competitive bidding that follows in the second half of the auction.  Competitive bidding begins Tuesday, July 18th at 9 am CST.  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!  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.

As always we are happy to provide extra images by email as well as to talk with you over the phone about a paperweight while it’s in our hands.  (We’ve tried printing out extra views for regular post but the printer’s inks and paper available don’t allow for quality reproduction.)  Select lots (including many in the first 20) in this Summer ’17 will soon be available for viewing as spin videos. These rotating visuals are especially helpful for some of the more complex weights.  Just give a call!  312-583-1177 or 800-538-0766.

And yes, of course, the weight you’ve been looking for is in here somewhere (forgive the bad puns and hyperbole today). So in light of the fact that we have in this auction 77 antique and 264 contemporary paperweights, bottles, and marbles we’re limited here today in what we can cover.  Let’s set the tone with a few excellent examples from the abundance of choices.  These weights not only offer beauty and the highest degree of artistry and craftsmanship but also a sense of well-being.  And that may be their true gift!

Please refer to the catalog for full descriptions of the lots for the following…

 AMERICA FIRST!

LOT 1. The first entries in the auction are most often from those three venerable French houses, Clichy, Baccarat and St. Louis. BUT this time—the No.1 spot (patriotic drumroll) goes to the Yankees at the New England Glass Company! (Yes, we know half their workers were from France and Great Britain – just play along…)  This NEGC bouquet on latticinio faceted paperweight boasts an arrangement of very dimensional and multi-tiered clematis in several colors with numerous finely variegated leaves.  Stems and a delicate yellow ribbon gather all together to complete the arrangement.  “These superb three-dimensional beauties rank among the best of all paperweights produced by the New England Glass Company, and in fact, the best produced by any glassworks.  They made very few of these…no duplicates exist.  Their quality is such that they probably served as presentation pieces given to important personages. “—The Art of the Paperweight-the Boston & Sandwich and New England Glass Companies.  Featured in a special exhibit at the Bergstrom Mahler Museum in 2014-2016.

Extremely rare magnum antique New England Glass Company bouquet on latticinio faceted paperweight.

Extremely rare magnum antique New England Glass Company bouquet on latticinio faceted paperweight.

BLUE IS NOT JUST AN ALBUM BY JONI MITCHELL

Beautiful hues of the color blue play both major and notable supporting roles in the first several lots this time around.  According to one of the 3 million plus entries on the all-knowing Internet,  “Blue is the color of the sky and the sea.  It is often associated with depth and stability.  It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven. Blue is considered beneficial to mind and body.”  Maybe you can’t buy love, but looking below, it seems as though all the other good things are up for bidding!

LOT 5. Here we have a gorgeous antique Baccarat interlaced millefiori trefoil garlands in blue double overlay faceted paperweight.  Two interlaced trefoil garlands create a perfect space for the central arrowhead cane, with an outer ring of white stars, ringed by a red bull’s eye-centered-white stardust.  Blue-over-white double overlay, with traces of sterling from a stencil indicating gilding.

Antique Baccarat interlaced millefiori trefoil garlands in blue double overlay faceted paperweight.

Antique Baccarat interlaced millefiori trefoil garlands in blue double overlay faceted paperweight.

LOT 15    The antique Clichy interlaced millefiori quatrefoil garlands paperweight that you see here continues nicely on the theme of blue as a restful, positive sensory experience.

Antique Clichy interlaced millefiori quatrefoil garlands paperweight.

Antique Clichy interlaced millefiori quatrefoil garlands paperweight.

WITH THIS IN HAND YOU CAN CANCEL YOUR LIFE INSURANCE!

LOT 20 As we cast our eye around over our current “embarrassment of riches” there is another holiday that comes to mind. This artwork seems to hold the promise of a charmed life to the lucky bearer of this glass firework, filled as it is with shamrocks (7, of course) and the symbolically beneficial butterflies. We all know St. Patrick but did you know that many cultures associate the butterfly with our souls? Around the world, people view the butterfly as representing change, hope, and life.

Here we have a rare antique Baccarat concentric shamrock and butterfly millefiori on upset muslin faceted paperweight.

“These are weights of power and impact whose design must have taken considerable thought.”—The Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights, page 56

Rare Antique Baccarat concentric shamrock and butterfly millefiori on upset muslin faceted paperweight.

Rare Antique Baccarat concentric shamrock and butterfly millefiori on upset muslin faceted paperweight.

THERE MAY BE A QUIZ

Remember that all 77 antique as well as the 264 contemporary paperweights have been carefully chosen and presented to provide a balanced and intriguing selection. This auction is a wonderland populated by exotic creations: Lot 14 features a stoic, antique camel; Lot 21 dazzles with a lush pink and black dahlia, Lot 26 seduces, with a gorgeously ethereal green serpent sporting eyes that would make you eat any apple, Lot 69 is a hallucination: a seldom-seen ghostly sailing ship with a tiny red flag atop its mast. There is, of course, a host of other lovingly conceived and rendered items, including fruits and flowers and faces! Many of these are embedded in, embellished with, or embraced by lush leaves, swinging swirls, gorgeous grounds, twisting torsades and magnificent millefiori. And all these carefully crafted artworks provide a much-needed sense of well-being and balance in today’s world!

THE ORIGINAL AMERICA’S CUP

LOT 69 The very rare antique Millville frit sailing ship from the C. Frank Kireker Collection. A white frit schooner, with sails, fully deployed, floats on blue water over a clear, footed base. “But the most ingenious paperweights at Millville, were those upright scenes derived from iron or steel dies and made by Michael Kane. In paper-thin colored glass pictures as delicate as if they had been etched, Kane shows…a yacht, a clipper ship…in a superb series of vignettes that sets the pulse to beating with chauvinistic nostalgia. These large, clear, heavy handsome weights come plain, footed, on pedestals, and occasionally, as with the clipper ships, in pairs that were probably used as mantel ornaments.”—The Encyclopedia of Glass Paperweights, page 240.

Very rare Millville frit sailing ship pedestal paperweight.

Very rare Millville frit sailing ship pedestal paperweight.

YES, WE ALSO LOVE MODERN ART!

As often is the case we begin our contemporary selections with the Dean, Paul Stankard. If you are a Stankard collector, you may want to clear out another room in the house because this time around we just happen to be able to offer a mini-treasure trove (a term mathematicians know equals 16).

LOT 79 portrays an elegant interplay of blue convolvulus morning glories lying on a sandy ground beside smaller yellow blooms with delicate petals. Berries and foliage complete the composition with the network of stems.

Paul Stankard 1984 Blue Convolvulus morning glories paperweight.

Paul Stankard 1984 Blue Convolvulus morning glories paperweight.

BIRDWATCHING WITHOUT SLEEP DEPRIVATION

Tired of rising at 3 a.m. to catch a glance of that redstart or blue tit?

Yes, us as well. So what a relief to realize that we have in the auction aviary from Rick Ayotte, a dozen or so birds that will always wait around ‘til 8 a.m. when you start to make coffee like a normal human being. Why they’ll even let you pick them up and stroke them!

LOT 112 is a charming example. An American redstart atop a branch of orange tiger lilies. Surrounding them are petite buds and green leaves, layered with another cluster of tiger lilies.

Rick Ayotte 1986 "American Redstart with Tiger Lilies"compound paperweight.

Rick Ayotte 1986 “American Redstart with Tiger Lilies”compound paperweight.

CAN’T MAKE IT TO THE MUSEUM? LET THE EXHIBIT COME TO YOU!

LOT 144 That’s right! We congratulate Victor Trabucco on his museum retrospective—Glass Within Glass: The Magic of the Trabucco Studio, on view at the Burchfield Penney Art Center through September 17th, 2017. It features the paperweight artistry of Victor, David, and Jon Trabucco.

But, if you can’t get there, we just happen to have a half a dozen beautiful examples ready for your home from over two decades of Victor’s achievement; the works range from 1981 to 1999.

Featured here; 1983 strawberry and blossom upright faceted paperweight, from the C. Frank Kireker Collection.

Victor Trabucco 1983 strawberry and blossom upright faceted paperweight.

Victor Trabucco 1983 strawberry and blossom upright faceted paperweight.

RAISE A GLASS TO THE CUTTER !

LOT 162 Bob Banford’s daffodil bouquet magnum faceted paperweight. This is simply too joyful an explosion of high-spirited nature not to show you. Spring eternal… and what also makes this piece stand out so is the dimensionality from the excellent faceting.

Bob Banford daffodil bouquet magnum faceted paperweight.

Bob Banford daffodil bouquet magnum faceted paperweight.

FROG, FRUIT AND FLOWERS – A HAT TRICK!

LOT 179 That’s right folks! You say you just ran out of the room at home and don’t know which of your favorite collecting themes to indulge in? This charming trio of elements by Colin fits nicely as the frog, fruit, and flowers complement each other well in size, palette, and placement. Nature should always be in such harmony.

Colin Richardson 2013 poison dart frog paperweight.

Colin Richardson 2013 poison dart frog paperweight.

OF COURSE HE LIVES IN CALIFORNIA

Lot 264 Danny Salazar, who worked in our booth at the Norfolk PCA like a champion—exudes southern California, and it’s completely in evidence here. This carefree beta fish leads a completely left coast lifestyle, floating in a gentle pastel sea.

Daniel Salazar / Lunberg Studios 1987 beta fish compound paperweight.

Daniel Salazar / Lunberg Studios 1987 beta fish compound paperweight.

THEY’RE ALL THERE ON PAPER!

We do wish we had time and space to spotlight all of the talented artists whose work appears in the auction but then that’s why you have the auction catalog, don’t you? You must have read somewhere by now that the human brain (and heart?) responds much better in the areas of cognition and retention from examining printed matter on paper, than when reading the same information on a computer screen. Enough said!

In Auction #66, most of the Usual (talented) Suspects are all here: Gordon Smith, Clinton Smith, Chris Buzzini, D’Onofrio, Debbie Tarsitano, Cathy Richardson, Charles Kaziun Jr., Drew Ebelhare, Damon MacNaught, Paul Ysart, William Manson, and Francis Whittemore—among many others including post-classic and modern weights by the Scottish and French houses, as well as works from some American studios such as Orient & Flume. We admire all these artists and are proud to have them as friends and associates. We regret not being able to feature works by each of them here, but you should really see our beautifully printed catalogs, where Marty Susmaras has coaxed and caressed truly attractive and dimensional images into being, that become a permanent record for all the artists!

SCARCITY ALERT!

You may have to really roll up your sleeves this time to get a David Graeber, Mayauel Ward, Eric Hansen, Mike Hunter, James Shaw, or Melissa Ayotte (among others) because we were only able to obtain 1 weight by each artist for this auction! So fight hard and play nice!

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

LOT 335 So because we can’t choose a favorite from the all-star team above to close out with, we’re going in a different direction and leaving you with an eye-grabbing marble filled with abstract millefiori rods and star canes by Karuna Glass…or was that your guess?!

Karuna Glass abstract millefiori rods and star canes marble by Doug Sweet.

Karuna Glass abstract millefiori rods and star canes marble by Doug Sweet.

Finally, we thank you for your time and just want to say to those of you who may not have seen the card insert in our “Glass in a Class by Itself” booklet –

REGARDING ART & PASSION

There is little that compares to the thrill of collecting. Over the centuries we have expressed our desires for culture by surrounding ourselves with increasingly sophisticated examples of beauty and refinement. The finely crafted paperweight represents the epitome of the art of sculpture in glass. It requires imaginative artistry, extreme craftsmanship, military discipline, endless patience, and just a touch of luck— in each and every handmade objet d’art.”

Thank you and good luck in the auction!

Ben, Penelope, Marty, Paul and Molly.

L.H. Selman Ltd.

New Works Booklet Mailed and Now Online…

Featured

Dear friends and glass paperweights lovers,

We have prepared a new booklet filled with fresh works for sale by many of the artists the Selman gallery represents as well as a selection of antiques by the classic makers we admire. If you have signed up with our website or purchased anything from us in the last year you will be receiving this full-color booklet soon. If you are uncertain about when you last signed up or purchased something from us, please give us a call (800-538-0766) or send an email to Paul Berlanga (paul@paperweight.com).

There are several pieces featured in the booklet that are not on the website at this time, so this attractive little publication is really worth examining if you are looking for something special. We look forward to hearing from you and as always, we are ready to assist you with your collecting!

We hope you enjoy seeing glass paperweights in print when this edition arrives!

Save the Date!!

Hello, all glass art and paperweight lovers—

 

We at the Selman Gallery would like to create something a little different for the next edition of our 15- month Calendar and Price Guide.  We want to create an attractive document that that will not only give you images of beautiful fine glass paperweights, with the days, weeks and months of the year(s) as reference—but a calendar that will also inform, delight and remind you of interesting chapters in the history of the art form.

What we need from you is a verifiable date, or a day of the year  (or a week or a month) special in the history of glass and especially glass paperweight history.

It can be a birthday of a well-known artist, or a famous collector or the date an artist opened his or her own studio.

It can be the date when the highest price ever paid at auction for a paperweight was realized.(The name of the auction house also, please…)

It can be the date (and year) that the Corning Museum of Glass or the Great Exhibition of London opened or the date that the historic “Flowers That Clothe the Meadows” exhibition began.

It can be the date if you can find it off when the English Crown changed the punitive trade law, which began to allow the English glass houses to compete with the French.

It can be the date Truman Capote died with “The White Rose” weight, given him by Colette, on his bedside table, and / or the day that Colette allowed Capote to visit her, arranged by her friend and his acquaintance, Jean Cocteau.

It can be the date that King Farouk had to abandon his throne, leaving behind his famous collection and the date of that sale.

If we receive word in time and it is fairly certain that the date will not change  – it can be the current date of important fairs, such as Wheaton or Norfolk or the Houston PCA, etc.  Or it can be the date of the founding of a particular PCA.

It can be the dates of inventions or advances in glass technology, (i.e. the date dichroic glass    was patented.  The date Clichy opened a factory in Clichy.  The date that …you get the idea!

Again, even if you only know the month and year in which something historic or interesting happened we might be able to work with that…  So start scratching your heads and give us your input.

Thank you in advance for your participation!

Paul Berlanga
Molly Rindfuss

PCA Norfolk and The Nepca Boston Conventions

HUNTERS ON PARADE!
(Michael and Sue Hunter on their U.S. Tour)
By
Paul Berlanga

Michael and Sue Hunter began a whirlwind tour in the U.S. recently, flying in from Scotland to Chicago on April 21.  Our good friend and paperweight grande dame Nancy Alfano saw them safely to her home before bringing them down to the Selman Gallery on Michigan Avenue the next day for an afternoon lecture and conversation filled with Michael’s trademark bone-dry humor!  Michael shared stories of his decades-long love affair with glass, including an explanation of his often self-taught working methods that have served him so well in a career that has had him looking for extra storage for his awards and citations!  The Hunters also brought along recent works still warm from the oven that sold briskly, as his collectors know that his output is always “1 of 1” with obvious variations between each final weight.  Before our gallery get-together the Hunters met members of the Midwest PCA at a breakfast at the Congress Plaza hotel a block away; the members also joined us for the lecture.  Too bad we couldn’t have Michael perform an actual demonstration but we heard that there were some who might oppose having thousands of degrees of glass melting flame present in the 135 year-old landmark Fine Arts Building.  (Party-poopers.) Michael inserted hilarious asides delivered deadpan and totally entertained the group while Sue kept him on conversational track, adding a correction or the additional tidbit here and there.

Drinks afterward with Nancy and the Hunters at the Aon Building was a welcome finish to the day and provided our Scottish guests with breathtaking views from the 80th floor of the downtown landscape.

We next encountered the Hunters in Norfolk, Virginia at the big PCA convention of April 27-30.  It was my first convention and I was assisting Ben Clark at The Selman booth where we had an entire glass cabinet filled with recent Hunter creations including some dazzlingly elegant candlesticks and cheerful apples and pears created with a patchwork quilt effect that reflected Mike’s interest in the original homespun bedding traditions.  The candlesticks and patchwork fruit sold out and orders had to be taken. It’s a real bonus to have Sue behind the counter, able to explain every last detail of the processes and intentions.  Mike would occasionally chime in, but he also enjoyed wandering the show floor with its thousands of glass distractions. There was a bonus in Norfolk unavailable at the Chicago meeting; here collectors were able to witness Mike and Sue (his irreplaceable studio mate and yes, some of those innovative designs evolved from her initial inspiration!) give demonstrations at the newly outfitted Glass Studio of the Chrysler Museum of Art.  They collaborated with both Colin Richardson and Chris Sherwin to produce separate works that then sold at the ensuing PCA auction for the organization’s benefit.  Rounding out the assembled all stars giving demonstrations were Dave Graeber, Damon MacNaught, Andy Najarian, Mayauel Ward, Clinton Smith and Gordon Smith – with Cathy Richardson as ringmaster deftly explaining to the crowd what was happening.  It was very interesting watching them all, not only for the creation of the weights themselves, but witnessing the absolutely focused intensity, the zones they seemed to reach while also quickly adapting to the working styles and physical movements of one another.  In a nearby room, Andy Najarian was performing magic, cutting, grinding and polishing glass by hand and eye!  He was estimating multiple geometric spaces visually.  Really I would not have believed it had I not seen it.

Let’s back up just a bit. It all began Thursday morning after registration and a generous buffet breakfast. Phil Edelman presiding as emcee outdid Bob Hope on his best day with sharp wit and sly delivery, setting a warm tone for all that followed.

And what followed involved 9 sessions of highly researched and heartfelt presentations.  There were also the aforementioned totally engaging live demonstrations of glassmaking by teams of contemporary artists (many working together for the first time) at the nearby Glass Studio of the Chrysler Museum, as well as a tour of the museum itself.

On the sales floor the dealers followed the artists in a week of presenting one dazzling array after another of the finest examples in the field of paperweights outside of museum collections.  I arrived a bit late and didn’t have adequate time to truly appreciate all the dealer offerings, but Ken Rosenfeld, Eric Hansen, Gordon Smith, Dave Graeber, Drew Ebelhare and Sue Fox, Victor Trabucco, and the others all had me wishing I had deeper pockets.  Maybe next year…  One note; a few dealers mentioned that it might be worth trying to have the artists’ setups in the same big room as the dealers.  (I was disappointed in not really being able to get around to examine each dealer’s wares in depth, but I did have the pleasure of meeting several of them.  Mayauel Ward had stunning and sumptuous glass works of all description – not only a feat of creation, but of transport from the west coast.  Paul and Karen Dunlop’s booth was a college seminar of Pantin history; yes they had other beautiful weights as well.

An additional bonus to the sales floor was to be found in our Selman booth by the presence of John Hawley, who signed copies of his revised and updated classic, The Boston & Sandwich Glass Company.  Please contact us at Selman for your copy.

https://www.theglassgallery.com/search/result?keywords=books&submit=Search#.WRyCoxMrKV4

Without space and memory to cover each presentation adequately, I apologize right now for mentioning some lectures at greater length than others.  All mistakes and omissions are mine alone. Let me also interject here that it was great to be able to put faces to what had been just names on the web and voices on the phone.

In Session 1, Alan Thornton, the English dealer and collector gave an impressive defense of his estimates of the numbers of various groups of paperweights extant worldwide by the use of mathematical extrapolation using what he could from reliable existing records. I was delighted to realize from one of the slides Alan presented, that it became clear that in one of his masterworks in oil—the great French Impressionist painter Seurat actually was primarily interested in rendering the all important Clichy glass factory at La Garenne—with the bathers in the foreground flanking it as a casual afterthought…or maybe that’s just my willful interpretation!

In Session 2, Paul Dunlop delivered an illuminating lecture on the world of Pantin and provided the best possible visuals.  Not only did he present excellent slides; his booth was filled with a collection of Pantin weights as fine as anything one could hope to see anywhere in one setting.  Paul also proved to be an invaluable under-bidder at the PCA auction later on!  In addition, Paul kindly brought me a poster from a one-man show exhibition of his photo-realist paintings at the Phoenix Art Museum.  He and I have a shared background in representational painting, except that he was actually successful!

Next, Cathy Richardson in Session 3 shared her journey in the arts, away from the world of academic science and toward what has become the great passion in her life.

The world of the hard sciences has had its share of politics and gender issues, but science’s loss came to be the art world’s gain.  Cathy’s dedication and success has proven quite influential, given that her son Colin is also a highly regarded glass artist himself.

In Session 4, Allan Port and Angela Bowey explained the interesting crosscurrents between glassmakers in a speech “Vasart, Pirelli & Lassman.”  I would give a lot to know what the two of them know, not only about paperweights and their history, but also about art and antiques in general.  Also, Allan is an absolute doppleganger for a dear old friend of mine and I’m looking for the photograph to send him.

Session 5: “Emerging From the Shadow”– was about an artist’s influences. Drew Ebelhare, Dave Graeber, Eric Hansen and Daniel Salazar gave the audience the gifts of their memories and feelings about developing as people as well as artists.  Drew was as usual, a bit non-conformist to the delight of many with the only wordless  (Andy Kaufman inspired?) presentation with entertaining images and very unusual music.  Drew is also always the best-dressed glassmaker in the house. And try as I might to compliment him and Sue Fox, they will not tell me just how they attain that gorgeous and edible-looking Dreamsicle color in some of their creations.  Danny Salazar’s good-natured reminiscences (he should always be in a good mood, having grown up in southern California!) Among his memories and experience of course is his tenure at Lundberg Studios and all welcomed his remarks.  Danny should write a book about it. He was also cheerfully invaluable in the Selman booth, being the best possible salesman for the beautiful weights he had created and brought to the booth.  (Thank you Danny!)  Eric Hansen shared tales of life in a multi-generational glass family with a touching note about the undoing of the sales market for his family’s glass animals by hordes of cheaply made and low-priced imports.  Things got better later, he said.  (That’s partly why we need arts education in this country – the development of taste!)  I also remember seeing one of the most beautiful weights of the fair at his table.  It’s almost hard to like a guy who has that much talent in different areas.  If you don’t know, Eric’s resume includes having been a Navy pilot and (currently) an airline pilot!

Dave Graeber opened his heart in an instance of sharing, above and beyond what a presentation might call for.  He spoke of his development under two mentors—Paul Stankard and George Vail. Dave’s relationship with Stankard is well known.  But you could only hope to have a student or acolyte feel about you the bone-deep love, respect and gratitude Dave Graeber has for Mr. Vail, who helped prepare him at an earlier time in his life for the challenges ahead of him.

Friday Session 6 saw Virginia Laidet of the Chrysler Museum provide a general introductory welcome to the attendees.

In a most intimate presentation (Session 7-“The Next Evolution”) Melissa Ayotte, shared her philosophy of life and her love of nature as they imbue her passionate struggle to create an art form that incorporates the essence of classic paperweight-making while focusing also on other elements close to her soul; chief among them being symbols of personal growth, reflection and spirituality.  Please try to access her talk.  A side note; I was impressed by how she tries to maintain a fundamental validity to her pieces. One example: she carefully researched just what seeds and bits of plants would be found in an early Indian bowl made by a particular tribe where she had recreated the bowl as a magnum paperweight. Melissa faithfully placed these inside.  And she balances it all with motherhood.  (I need to up my game!)

Session 8 – In “Antique Sulphide Paperweights,” Dr. Barton, attending the fair with his wife Nancy, offered a scholarly and illuminating presentation on the subject.  I tried to take notes in the dark but had to give up from falling behind and just decided to enjoy the moment and take solace for whatever I did retain.  I’m grateful for the reminder from him to never even touch with an ungloved hand the gold finish on a royal portrait sulphide.  He also in an email explained to me the likely reason why there are many sulphides featuring Robert E. Lee and none of General Grant.  Much of the French sympathy lay with the South during our Civil War, which dovetailed nicely with their ambitions in Mexico during that time.  Also Lee was a more refined and appealing subject.  I’m thinking the romance and tragedy of his lost cause also appealed to the French who have had artists on their currency and philosophers listed as such in their phone directories!

The Norfolk PCA convention ended with quite a surprise…

On day 3 of the PCA conference in Norfolk, Wes Clark took the stage for Session 9 – his talk was “In Pursuit of the Russian Imperial Ring, a 30 Year Odyssey.”   An engaging and seasoned speaker, he slowly released his line and led the audience as nimbly as a veteran fisherman; everyone was hooked!  Initially building a parallel momentum of suspense based on his own international treasure hunts for rarities in the paperweight world (with Mr. Magoo as his PowerPoint avatar!) Wes segued to Larry Selman’s own greatest clandestine adventure—securing the majestic “Russian Ring” in the ominous backstreets of Eastern Europe.  The “crowning” achievement of Wes’ speech was the totally unexpected announcement that the Ring was actually about to enter the room!  Unseen for years, the Selman gallery had once again taken possession of the fabled artwork, even if only for a brief period and by the good graces of a very reclusive collector.  The crowd was stunned and delightfully surprised, responding with huge applause. I polled almost a dozen people afterward, could find no one who had begun to guess the climax of the presentation, so quietly and smoothly had Wes ramped up the sense of anticipation in his tone.  (Later I discovered that a few people had noticed the absence of Ben in the room when Wes called him, and began to have their suspicions.)  Despite that, Wes had, according to many there, provided the surprise highlight of the 3 days of presentations.  That afternoon, from open to close, the Selman booth was swamped with admiring collectors just staring and with several artists, led by Damon MacNaught and Gordon Smith putting their heads together in a vigorous conversation of how possibly to reverse-engineer this masterpiece!

(They came to no consensus.)  We thank the civically minded if very private patron of the arts who allowed us to share the unparalleled achievement that the Ring represents in the history of glasswork!  You should have been there!

Russian Ring – Brief Description of Wes Clark’s lecture

“A big thank you to Katie Malone-Smith for the following photographs…just don’t blame her for the captions!”

All-Star Ballet: L-R, Mayauel Ward, Clinton Smith, Cathy Richardson, Chris Sherwin Dave Graeber.

All-Star Ballet: L-R, Mayauel Ward, Clinton Smith, Cathy Richardson, Chris Sherwin Dave Graeber.

Glass Weights Incorporated, a.k.a. The Artists

Glass Weights Incorporated, a.k.a. The Artists

PCA party favors by Chris Sherwin

PCA party favors by Chris Sherwin

Excellent Accommodations

Excellent Accommodations

Silhouettes at Selman’s

Silhouettes at Selman’s

Phil (Bob Hope) Edelman

Phil (Bob Hope) Edelman

D. Graeber, D. Salazar, E. Hansen, D. Ebelhare- waiting to testify…

D. Graeber, D. Salazar, E. Hansen, D. Ebelhare- waiting to testify…

Experts listening to specialists

Experts listening to specialists

There will be a quiz!

There will be a quiz!

Sue and Mike in the kitchen

Sue and Mike in the kitchen

Fresh-baked

Fresh-baked

Glass color Wheel of Fortune

Glass color Wheel of Fortune

Nothing like a live performance!

Nothing like a live performance!

Ben with bodyguards

Ben with bodyguards

All fired up!

All fired up!

“And the award goes to…!”

“And the award goes to…!”

Look carefully – you’re here somewhere…

Look carefully – you’re here somewhere…

“All in the Family” (the Ayottes)

“All in the Family” (the Ayottes)

All volunteer army

All volunteer army

“I don’t know…buy all 10, or send junior to college?”

“I don’t know…buy all 10, or send junior to college?”

“Too heavy to lift…it weighs a million bucks!”

“Too heavy to lift…it weighs a million bucks!”

Following the final formal presentation Jim Lefever, Alan Thornton and Andrew Dohan generously hosted an Identification Clinic.  It was also the third day of the dealers’ fair, where people had a last opportunity to purchase additions to their collections as well as view the stunning and reclusive Imperial Russian Ring.

Interspersed with all this were daily announcements and board meetings hosted by selfless members who gave their time and energy to the cause.   I also met Michael Calleri, who helms the Glass Paperweight Group and who documented the PCA Convention so that all the collectors could see everything on the Internet.  We also connected over the abysmal quality of so much film reviewing today.

He’s already saved me from wasting money at the movie ticket office with his thoughtful but no-nonsense reviews.  Thank you Michael!

The Norfolk event ended on a high note Saturday evening with a cocktail hour followed by a satisfying banquet.  As people were finishing their meals the auction of the collaborative works done at the museum glass studio were auctioned off with some real but good-natured competitive spirits on display.  Talk began informally of where the next event would occur, with Louisville mentioned by more than one attendee.  Chris Sherwin went above and beyond in providing this year’s lovely takeaway weight for everyone at the finale.

At this, my first PCA fair I must say I was genuinely impressed by not only the beauty of the assembled offerings of gorgeous glass art and the passion of the lectures and presentations, but also the sense of fraternity among the men and women who fill the ranks of collectors and dealers.  I felt a definite affectionate kinship among you all who were present there and who are reading this.  From the Greatest Generation to the Baby Boomers and even on to those gifted and prescient Millennials who are picking up the torch—I saw nothing but respect and sharing.

It was a pleasure to be there.

Co-incidence? – I don’t think so!  In a surprise move the NATO Alliance saw fit celebrate our PCA members event with a grand parade throughout the downtown area of Norfolk.  Google it if you don’t believe me.  Thank you, half of Europe!!!

Impressed by the international salute, the Hunters departed on Sunday with Diane Warning, who graciously hosted them before bringing them to their next stop – the NEPCA convention.  There, in a hotel in the town of Marlborough outside of Boston, Michael again spoke to an appreciative audience.  Now, Michael claims to be color-blind but when asked how he could achieve the subtle and absolutely harmonious palettes that give many of his works their singular aura, he straightaway says “I read German” meaning he does it by German color charts and number tables. I’m scratching my head over that one, but it certainly seems to work well.  The NEPCA fair attendees were also grateful for an interesting overview; “The Contemporary Paperweight Collection of Richard Schimmelpfeng” was delivered by Kirk Nelson, director of the New Bedford Museum of Glass of Massachusetts.  Allan Port was the lead speaker, generous with his time as well as donations to the table that held some very nice “door prizes.”  Thank you again, Allan for the glass weight of the Earth I took home.

The list of people to acknowledge for their time, energy and devotion to the organizations that bring lovers of paperweights together is indeed a long one and I apologize to any speakers, artists and collectors whom I have failed to identify individually or correctly.  It truly was a gathering of dedicated collectors, artists and dealers. Thanks to Phil Edelman, Diane Warning, Martha Foley, Ellen Rostker, Don Formigli, Deb Zonies, Clara Ayotte, Allan Port and all the glass lovers who gave and continue to give of their time and energy to keep the flame alive beyond the glass studio.

A last thank you to Bob Hartman, a Florida dealer and one of the heroes of the PCA auction.   I tried to stand near him and pick up some of that happy-go-lucky charm of his.  Thank you Bob for reminding me to smile more –

I hope next time I won’t be operating with a severely pinched nerve in my shoulder! Until next time!

Russian Ring – Brief Description of Wes Clark’s lecture

On day 3 of the PCA conference in Norfolk, Wes Clark took the stage for Session 9 – his talk was to be “In Pursuit of the Russian Imperial Ring, a 30 Year Odyssey.”   An engaging and seasoned speaker, he slowly released his line and led the audience as nimbly as a veteran fisherman; everyone was hooked! Initially building a parallel momentum of suspense based on his own international treasure hunts for rarities in the paperweight world (with Mr. Magoo as his PowerPoint avatar!) Wes segued to Larry Selman’s own greatest clandestine adventure—securing the majestic “Russian Ring” in the ominous backstreets of Eastern Europe. The “crowning” achievement of Wes’ speech was the totally unexpected announcement that the Ring was actually about to enter the room! Unseen for years, the Selman gallery had once again taken possession of the fabled artwork, even if only for a brief period and by the good graces of a very reclusive collector. The crowd was stunned and delightfully surprised and responded with huge applause. Polling dozens of people afterward, we could find no one who had begun to guess the climax of the presentation, so smoothly had Wes quietly ramped up the sense of anticipation in his tone. Wes had, according to many there, provided the surprise highlight of the 3 days of presentations. That afternoon, from open to close, the Selman booth was swamped with admiring collectors just staring and with artists putting their heads together in a vigorous conversation of how to possibly reverse-engineer this masterpiece!

(They came to no consensus.) We thank the civically minded if very private patron of the arts who allowed us to share the unparalleled achievement that the Ring represents in the history of glasswork! You should have been there!

Watch a Spin-Video of the Russian Ring:  click  YouTube.

Russian Ring Russian Ring Russian Ring Russian Ring Russian Ring Russian Ring

 

 

Meet an Award-Winning Master Glass Artist!

L.H. Selman Ltd. is pleased to announce a rare opportunity for you to meet Michael Hunter, an exceptional artist and master craftsman in the glass art field.  Mike and Sue, his wife and studio partner, of TWISTS GLASS STUDIO of Scotland, will be in Chicago and available for 1 day, April 22.  We invite you to join us at the L.H. Selman Ltd. Gallery of Fine Glass Paperweights to meet them and enjoy a presentation by the award-winning glassmaker (sorry- no demonstrations that afternoon). The Hunters will also be exhibiting new paperweights and glasswork.

No Admission Charge. Refreshments will be served.

Read more about Mike and Sue Hunter and Twists Glass Studio on our website: Twists Glass Studio Bio

WHO:            Mike and Susan Hunter of Twists Glass Studio
WHAT:           Lecture/Conversation and Presentation of newly arrived works
WHEN:          Saturday, April 221- 4 p.m.
WHERE:        L.H. Selman Gallery, 410 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL. 60605
WHY:             Because You Deserve It!

 QUESTIONS: Please Contact Paul or Molly at 312-583-1177 or 800-538-0766

Master Glass Artist

Mike Hunter 2015 “Devo” magnum paperweight. In honor of the proposed Scottish secession of 2014, two three-dimensional lizards, each made from astonishing compilations of murrini faces, climb across a large red, white and blue orb draped on one side with the British flag and on the other with that of Scotland. Edition #1 of 1. Signature cane. Signed. Diameter 4 1/4″.

Hunter Candle Sticks Glass Paperweights Glass Paperweights

Good Things Come to Those Who Weight!

As the world fixates on politics and current events, we need to take a moment and remember what is truly important in life. We need a cause we can ALL get behind— a movement worth all the letters and phone calls and late night tweets you can muster – and a communal quest that can reunite this great country in the process.

That’s right – we need to see Paperweights on our United States Postal Service stamps. Lick it Loud and Stick it Proud! (Sorry about that – but you get the idea!)

Rick Ayotte Paperweights International Paperweights International Paperweights Gary & Doris Scrutton American Paperweights

Here are some ideas from the Selman archives for what all our beautiful glass treasures could look like, spreading the word about Glass Paperweights – that most complex and rewarding of glass art forms, the old-fashioned way – on letters!

Why, this could reignite an interest in penmanship all by itself, and it has been shown through testing that intellectual development is aided by the hand-eye-mind coordination that is involved in the “simple” act of writing.  So how about it?  Let’s salvage the cognition and coordination of our grade school students starting right now, and in the process put beautiful images of paperweights in front of everyone who can still read!  Drop us a line with your thoughts and ideas! http://www.theglassgallery.com/

And don’t forget to call your elected representatives!

We have to Stick Together!

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…