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.