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You’re going to be a fine audience today; I can just tell.  Yes, some of you have recently shared how the rehab programs have completely failed and that now you’re back here and hungrier than ever for flamework and millefiori.  We understand, we really do.  And we knew you’d be back.  So step right this way and take a chair from the stack by the door and get comfortable while we run through a small sampling of enticing selections designed to introduce you to the next big shipment.  No funny business, please, there’s enough to go around.  And the doors are guarded.

THE ONLY AMERICAN ANTIQUE YOU’LL EVER NEED.

Lot 1. Very rare antique Mount Washington dimensional rose
and berry bouquet magnum paperweight.

You would have to be holding this – and I mean with both hands – to really get a feel for this protean masterwork.  That’s right, it’s alive with movement; the magnificent central rose bubbling up and out as if it were a young volcano rising slowly from the sea floor; its pedals spilling up like magma about to become lava. Don’t touch either. (We did hear from one brave collector who was literally chased out of her home in Hawaii two years ago by an eruption and lost some paperweights and yes, the entire house …)  So stay safe and keep all that primordial material safely under glass. And without exaggeration, we can say that this weight has such a strong presence, such a tremendous sense of dimensional volume—that it’s a cinematic experience just to move it about in your hands. Amidst an energetic entourage of rich green leaves and supporting buds that are raised like happy hands, the rose is also feted by two arrangements crowned with glowing blueberries that rise up and create a sense of depth that needs to be seen to be believed.

We’d be remiss not to mention the incredible color of the central rose.  Even the name of the color is exotic.  Aubergine sounds French but the French and English both adopted it from either the Sanskrit “vatinganah,” or the Catalan “alberginia,” which itself derived from Arabic and Persian words before that.  So all those words are now sort of inside a Mount Washington rose!  And please watch Marty’s little spin video on this weight. It’s Number One for a reason.

DID DOCTOR WHO COLLECT MARBLES?

LOT 9. Very rare antique Saint Louis red, white and green marbrie paperweight.

Don’t be surprised if you come into the room and find an awestruck, younger family member turning this beautiful paperweight in his or her hands and whispering something about a Time Lord.  The hypnotic effect of the looping rivers of red converging and departing from the center remind us at the gallery of the recurrent and vertigo-inducing visual sequence in the television series “Doctor Who,” of the good doctor’s spaceship (disguised as a British telephone box) engaged in time travel.  The program was originally designed to engage the entire family with the goal of education using time travel as a medium to explore scientific ideas and famous moments in history. What better metaphor than that can help interest your children and grandchildren in an art glass marble (“marbrie” comes from the French for marble) that is a doorway not only to beauty but to the history that brought it into being. The green and white floret canes add a festive crown in adornment and also beg for the weight to become a Christmas present!  Who doesn’t like getting marbles for Christmas?

ONE FOR EVERY LETTER IN THE ALPHABET!

LOT 10. Very rare antique Baccarat millefiori and Gridel silhouettes paperweight.

Seriously this is One-Stop-Shopping for silhouette hunters. This is the equivalent of a greatest hits album where they don’t cheat and actually include every last bona fide hit song! Watch the video, which you can pause and enlarge—this is awesome, (and believe me, I really reserve that word for special moments, due to its grisly murder by a certain generation of imagination-deprived American youth a while back. There is even a cane in lovely green and blue colors with leaves and butterflies packed in like a New York subway. In other words, this is one very special paperweight.  The best word for the surface of this antique is bustling–there is absolutely something special everywhere you look; the whole world is here at this party (that is just after the animals and plants have finally shown us all the door).  And the endless color juxtapositions mix with the bounty of designs to produce a glass playground for adults.  This Baccarat could turn a flamework-only collector into a raving maven of millefiori!  And if you manage to find and count a 27th silhouette, don’t call, because we’re still correct.  At one time the ampersand was counted as part of the alphabet!  Oh and as long as I’m hawking silhouettes, check out LOT 224!

SAINT LOUIS DEUX AMIS

LOT 15. Uncommon antique Saint Louis pink pompon and pansy bouquet paperweight.

Picture this; two flowers are crossing paths on the street, both against the light, and… okay, we’re a little out over our skis here, but cut us some slack; this is not a typical paperweight.  It is quite unusual, even bordering, to this eye, on surrealism.   Surrealism is a 20th-century avant-garde movement in art and literature which sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images.  It was founded in Paris in the 1920s and excelled at challenging set norms and expectations.  Now our weight does not feature say, a flower next to a cash register, but in the realm of unexpected juxtapositions that still appeal greatly to the eye, it qualifies!  (Besides, I write the rules in this blog.) So here we have what resembles a pair of friends so close they’re almost joined at the hip, or the stem, as it were. Either way, we luckily have two brilliantly rendered examples of the finest French craftsmanship.  On the left is an intensely hued pansy that is colored as richly as a monarch’s robe. On the right we have the most exquisitely calligraphic styling, waltzing across the surface of the pompon like Dorothy Hamill. The pansy balances the pompon, completing a very successful design against a spiral lace backdrop.  Magnifique!

GOOD THINGS COME IN SMALL PACKAGES—AND HERE’S THE EVIDENCE

LOT 17. Antique Clichy close concentric millefiori and roses miniature paperweight.

We’ve all heard the expression and now I think we have found the origin of the phrase! Take a long look at this precisely sculpted little beauty and you’ll see how great design creates its own sense of scale.  In the so-called Middle Ages (which if that description is accurate, would mean we’re finished soon) painters created small portraits of the marriage-seeking offspring of alliance-building monarchs to carry around Europe and try to impress other far-away possible spouses.  Those miniature paintings were held up for centuries as examples of near perfection They also cheated a little on just how appealing the “wanna-be” newlywed actually was, (because the artist wanted to keep his teeth intact and seal the deal for his liege lord).  BUT Nicholas Hilliard and his like can’t compare their finest efforts to the petite perfection that is the Clichy before you here. Elegant design, clean sharp cane delineation and masterful color juxtaposition make this antique Clichy worthy of a royal reception.  In fact this jewel would have sealed any marriage proposal all by itself!

SOMEONE LEFT THE CAKE OUT IN THE RAIN…I MEAN SNOW!

LOT 45. Rare and antique Clichy C-scroll millefiori garlands
on white ground paperweight.

Okay, admit that it made you smile if you recognized the 1968 song lyrics from “Mac Arthur Park” by Jim Webb.  And that you’re embarrassed to even remember the lyrics to that unorthodox paean to pop musical possibilities.  Well, someone did leave a bunch of beautiful pastry scrolls out in the sodden snow here and the haunting similarity to the song was something we couldn’t shake and wanted to share.  Anyway, this lovely antique Clichy  is a highly unusual artwork bracketed by six large and brightly colored capital “C” scrolls (not to be confused with the “Sea” Scrolls, which predate the Clichy by several months…).  There is a delightful calm to this weight; it literally feels like wintry contemplation.  Throw another log on the fire and sit back in your overstuffed chair and just gaze at this quiet and unusual beauty. Oh, yes, don’t forget the brandy…

CIRCLES AND CITRUS

LOT 90. David Graeber 2019 fruit cocktail wreath basket-cut paperweight.

Savvy art dealers have been known to bring a work of art to the homes of established collectors and display it there, for weeks at a time, even over the bemused and fainthearted protests of the clients. The dealers knew that once the art was “set” inside the home, there was a very high likelihood that when the dealer came back to retrieve the piece, the collector (who had shown interest but not commitment while in the gallery) could frequently not bear its removal and purchase it on the spot. Dave Graeber’s cocktail paperweight is such a work.  Insofar as if you could see this weight as we can, close-up, under different lighting and at multiple angles—and if we came in and placed this carefully among your other weights … well, you, and I mean all of you—would likely build a moat around your home before you’d let us come back and retrieve the work.  This celebratory presentation (hats off to the peerless Jim Poore for his exquisite cutting) of surgically sculpted bounty of fresh fruits, is a masterpiece.  From the Renaissance through the golden age of Dutch painting, lavish oil paintings have featured fresh and abundant fruit—in part to confer stature to an owner’s status and in part to comfort the viewers during the barren winters.  We know for a fact, that the unsurpassed master painter, Vermeer would have been proud to have created this rainbow of wonder….

The spin video will have you on your knees…

CLASSICAL MEETS COOL

LOT 120. Mike Hunter 1999 blue and white twists four candles candelabra.

Mike has really pulled it off.  He has created a sleek and light-filled candelabra that absolutely retains the elegance of bygone eras but updates it with a clean, contemporary styling that prevents the work from displaying any stuffiness that one might associate with centuries-old sophistication.  The best of the old and the new.  The intersection of Art Nouveau and Art Deco.  Beethoven meets Miles Davis.  The only candelabra that we’ve seen that is such a successful balancing act between styles and eras.  And this is likely your only chance to acquire it….

OUR ICE CUBE IS NOT DANGEROUS!

LOT 129. Ken Rosenfeld 1998 sunflower block paperweight.

ICE. Ice in your veins, Ice Cube – aka O’Shea Jackson Sr., “the feds have him on ice,” Ice from “West Side Story” the book, Soul On Ice, Ice in your cocktail helps break the ice with a new acquaintance…  You get the picture? Ice is cool and adult. Sleek and often associated with of hint of danger. (And don’t swallow the ice cube!)  So here we have a sophisticated little sunflower floating happily on a beautiful blue base inside its very own ice cube.  The catalogue reads that it’s a “block,” but you and I know it’s an ice cube.   Sunflower at no extra charge.

Just Play it Cool, Boy…

CAN YOU GET “THE BENDS” WHILE SITTING AT YOUR DESK?

LOT 167. Cathy Richardson 2009 coral reef and swimming fish paperweight.

I ask about the bends because I must have been hallucinating that I saw the two iridescent fish in Cathy’s sumptuously inhabited undersea world of a weight having an intelligent conversation. We have photos to appear to prove it.  This lushly attractive and life-filled rendition of the sea floor makes one hope that the actual sea bottom still bears resemblance to the artwork!  The ocean floor is a real bonus here.  Not only is the floor a cheerful mixture of shapes and shades, but the profile of the weight probes the abstract beauty that thrives beneath the seabed. A completely realized artwork.  The only thing missing is our submarine fleet.  And good riddance; let’s leave the ocean depths as the purview of the artists…

IS THIS MUCH HAPPINESS IN A SINGLE ARTWORK EVEN LEGAL??

LOT 169. Debbie Tarsitano “Metaform” flower, snake and insect
collage sculpture paperweight.

This weight should more correctly have been titled “Pure Ebullience,” as it exudes unapologetically raw joy!  I’ve mentioned Debbie’s playfulness and good cheer before, but compared to this captivating font of unbridled fun, the other works are left glowering in the shadows…  Every gorgeous color Debbie has ever employed is here, dancing around in this explosively happy garden paradise. There’s even a tic-tac-toe game waiting. This doesn’t even look as though it was “made,” but rather like it had been discovered in nature.  It is shaped like a large clear crystal rock that was found in a river bed and whose surfaces had been smoothed by the passage of time.  The verticality and gracefully anamorphic shape bestow extra liveliness and naturalism to the piece.  A vacation for the eyes.  You all are lucky that I can’t bid!

BAG YOUR LIMIT WITHOUT LEAVING HOME!

LOT 181. Charles Kaziun Junior millefiori framed fisherman and hunter silhouettes miniature faceted paperweight.

Mother Nature is outnumbered and outgunned with this tag team of diligent sportsmen on the prowl.  Except it seems they brought their pet turtles along, so that will certainly slow them down a bit.  Never knew turtles could retrieve.  In this weight the renowned indoorsman, Charles Kaziun Jr. doubles down on his sports series.  Eschewing the classic camouflage grayed-down greens and browns of the natural landscape, the artist chooses to employ a sparkling golden and baby blue hunting ground.  This may have the effect of subverting the sportsmen’s ability to surprise the prey, but it also means that the little tableau will look great in your home.

PRIMEVAL OR PRIME EVIL?

LOT 283. Chris Belleau 1995 “Face Weight” pressed black and white man paperweight.

Okay.  The artist is channeling something really a bit primitive here, and the result is a rather riveting artwork of a facial expression, that is as engaging as it is unsettling. (Try and stop looking at a car wreck in progress.) If you have a niece or nephew whose favorite film is Nightmare on Elm Street, and you’ve been wanting to get them interested in paperweights, now’s your chance!  We were thinking of holding a naming contest with the most inventive title for the weight, winning it.  “Bozo’s Evil Twin,” and “Trapped Human Soul” were already submitted. BUT the consignor was adamant, so no creative contest will be happening, but here it is at auction where you have an equal shot at it, depending of course on how deep your pockets are.  Do not put this next to your bed, you’ve been warned…

AND LAST, BUT MOST DEFINITELY  N O T  LEAST…!

LOT 360. Beau Barrett dots marble.

Someone call Hogwarts!  Tell Harry Potter that the Wizard’s Library is missing its Dilithium Crystal Marble!  Or maybe it’s from the starboard engine of Starfleet Captain James Kirk’s Enterprise?  With a surface of dancing iridescence doused in exotic and subtle color tones, this mysterious gem emanates an almost mystic aura and it demands close inspection.  To be imprecise, the artwork is covered with a rather Moorish arabesque-Art Nouveau-William Morris design with a tip of the hat to Yayoi Kusama and 1960s lava lamps.  Or maybe it was in the belly of a Fabergé Egg?  It doesn’t matter; what matters is that no photo can do this beauty justice, and that if you like marbles you need to fight for this one.

ALL RIGHT, THAT’S ALL FOR NOW.  SO WAKE UP, AND PLEASE RETURN YOUR FOLDING CHAIRS TO THE STACK BY THE DOUBLE DOORS ON YOUR WAY OUT.  WE’LL SEE YOU ALL AT THE INITIAL BIDDING PARTY!  THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK AND CALL WITH ANY QUESTIONS…ABOUT PAPERWEIGHTS, OF COURSE!

 

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