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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Recognizing Russel Wright glassware

Some readers indicated that they were unfamiliar with Russel Wright glassware patterns, so I thought I'd post a few photos that might help in identifying them at an estate sale or thrift store.

According to Ann Kerr in Collector's Encyclopedia of Russel Wright, Wright's relationship with Imperial began in 1941 when they produced the seeded glass Flair. In 1949 the Flame line was added, which was later called Twist. These patterns were said to be produced in seaspray (a pale aqua), hemlock (a deep forest green), ripe olive (a deep brown), verde (a green gold) and crystal. These (first and third pictures below) were shown in an early Imperial ad in Kerr's book, along with the Pinch pattern. Kerr also included photos of a slightly different shape of Flair glassware, like the second photo below, although she didn't include an ad verifying the identification. My knowledge isn't extensive enough to confirm or refute this attribution.

Flair by Imperial (spelled "Flare" in early ads)

Another Flair shape, according to Ann Kerr

Twist by Imperial (originally called Flame)

The Pinch line by Imperial was added in 1951 to accompany Iroquois Casual. It was produced in verde, seafoam, smoke, cantaloupe, chartreuse, ruby, pink and crystal.

Pinch by Imperial

In 1957 Wright was commissioned to decorate the Oklahoma line of Bartlett-Collins in Sapulpa, Oklahoma. The only two designs he allowed his name to be used with in advertising were Eclipse and Asterisk, though other styles were later produced in the tapered Oklahoma shape, as well as in a straight shape. Fellow blogger wedgwoodtulsa has a nice post about Eclipse glassware, as well as the best photos I found of all four colors. In 1958 they were called blue, flamingo, yellow and green, and all had gold moons. In 1960 the color names were changed to blue, tangerine, yellow and green, although flamingo and tangerine were likely the same color.

Eclipse by Bartlett-Collins, sometimes called Sooner glasses

Asterisk by Bartlett-Collins

In 1963 Wright contracted with Yamato in Japan to produce the Theme Formal line, which included these opaline white glasses. Advance sales were not successful, and there are indications that only samples were produced.

Theme Formal by Yamato

I hope this information is beneficial to those of you who are new to Russel Wright glassware and helps you get some great bargains when you're hitting estate sales, thrift stores or eBay.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Richard Galef's garden

Richard Galef
Earlier in the week, I posted about industrial designer Richard "Dick" Galef's 1953 trashcan. While researching Galef, I found out about something equally interesting...his passion for gardening.

Thirty years ago, urbanites Susan Anthony and Richard Galef bought a tiny farmhouse nestled in the hills of Craryville, New York. They set about clearing trees and scrub brush, enlarging the house and creating a garden that now covers 57 acres, which includes a large planned woodland grove with stone paths, a pond surrounded by trees, grasses and exotic bog plants, an expanse of wild white roses, perennial beds, moss beds, a cut stone sculpture, wild woods, meadows and a 5-acre lake built by Galef to recover a swamp filled with dead trees. From their terrace, they can see a ledge of white rock shaped like a whale, which they call Moby Dick.

Anthony once painted landscape-inspired abstract paintings, so she uses her knowledge of color and is in charge of flowers and plants. Galef, with the eye of an industrial designer, has designed hardscapes and tends the maple trees he loves.

Their garden was open to the public in June as part of the Garden Conservancy Open Days Program, which includes garden tours in eleven states. I'm eager to find out if Galef and Anthony participate in the program annually.

From and

Rock path in the planned woods

Tree peony in the Galef-Anthony garden

Lake on the Galef-Anthony property

Friday, July 29, 2011

Around the store: My little darlings, mid-century style

Just a couple of shots of my grandsons in the store today that I couldn't resist sharing...

Boy in a Burke
Baby in a bullet

Productive partnership

Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm 
Preben Fabricius (1931-1984) and Jørgen Kastholm (1931-2007) were born in Denmark and met each other at the School of Interior Design, where they became fast friends. Fabricius trained with Finn Juhl and started his career as an apprentice cabinetmaker under Niels Vodder. He worked for a time for architect Ole Hagen. Kastholm worked with with Fritz Hansen, Arne Jacobsen and Ole Hagen, but it was the partnership formed by architect/furniture designer Fabricius and furniture designer Kastholm in 1961 that brought them the most success. They specialized in the design of single family homes and elegant furniture to go in them.

Fabricius and Kastholm produced furniture that can still be seen in 120 international airports, the Louvre in Paris and the MoMA in New York. The two men believed in ergonomic design and wanted to produce furniture people would enjoy sitting in. Many of their design principles are still followed today.

The award-winning designers are best known for the Scimitar chair and the FK Bucket Seat.

From, and

Scimitar chair
FK Bucket Seat
Easy chair
FK 710 Skater chair
Grasshopper lounge chair
FK 82 X Chair
Copper light fixture
BO750 coffee table

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another mystery solved

Back in May, I posted about a trashcan I saw listed on eBay as a "Mid Century Atomic Mategot Style Tin Wire Trash Can Bin" and priced at $159. At the time, I didn't know who designed the trashcan, but I was able to determine with a reasonable degree of certainty that it wasn't designed by Mathieu Matégot, and his designs became the focus of that post. My daughter and SIL have an identical trashcan that they got free at an estate sale, and I also offered the opinion at the time that "free" was probably a more realistic price than $159, but now I'm not so sure about that.

I was looking at my copy of Ann Kerr's Collector's Encyclopedia of Russel Wright for yesterday's post, and on page 4 of the Acknowlegements, there is was! The trashcan! Kerr had included this copy of a 1953 Richards Morgenthau/Raymor ad:

Richards Morgenthau/Raymor ad
Collector's Encyclopedia of Russel Wright  by Ann Kerr

The ad read, "These famous names and brands have identified Richards Morgenthau as America's outstanding distributor of contemporary gifts and decorative accessories." And right there, along with designs by Ben Seibel, Tony Paul, George Nelson, Paul McCobb and Russel Wright was a picture of the trashcan identified as having been designed by "Dick Galef" for Ravenware.

Close-up of the 1953 Richards Morgenthau/Raymor ad 

I just love a mystery with a totally unexpected ending. I bet my daughter and SIL will like this one too. And maybe now that they know what they have, they'll quit filling it with dirty diapers!

Update 8/12/11: Jonathan Goldstein had lunch with Richard Galef yesterday and learned some things I need to pass on to you. First of all, according to Galef,  he has never gone by "Dick," so why he was referred to as such in the Morgenthau/Raymor ad is yet another mystery. Also, this trash can, included in my original post, is a design by Galef for Ravenware, not by Mathieu Matégot, as it was incorrectly attributed.

We all know that, 50+ years after the fact, sellers and bloggers today are going to make mistakes in identifying pieces/designers and that the misinformation is then perpetuated by exposure on the Internet, which is why I post corrections as soon as new information comes to my attention. That poses a serious problem for today's collectors, for if even the ads and brochures that came out back then contain information that is less than factual, what will we do after there's no one left from that era to set us straight? 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That's right...more Russel

Last Friday night I was in Russel Wright Heaven, aka Hiram and Andrew's house. (Actually, it was Mid-Century Heaven, period. But more about that in another post.)

Not only do they have more beautiful pieces of Russel Wright furniture than I can begin to list, in addition to the spectacular collection of china that you saw in my post about their home, but they had some "spare" Old Morgantown American Modern glassware they were willing to sell, so of course I joyfully let it follow me home. Now I have 33 new "babies," including 3 wine glasses, 4 cocktail glasses, 8 goblets, 4 water glasses, 4 juice glasses, 8 sherbet dishes and 2 cordial glasses in coral. Only 23 pieces to go before I have 8 of 8 iced tea glasses and 8 dessert dishes...yes, another collection in the making. (Hiram and I miscounted, and I realized when counting them for the post that I owe him more money. Don't let me forget to pay it!)

In the clean-up stage, after being carefully and lovingly unwrapped

The grand...11 oz. goblets that are over 4" in diameter

The petite...cordial glasses that stand only 2 1/2" high
and are only 2" in diameter

Water and juice glasses

Sherbet dishes

Wine glasses

Cocktail glasses

Safely ensconced in my Drexel Profile china cabinet
with my Russel Wright Iroquois Casual in ripe apricot and avocado yellow

This handmade line was produced in four colors: smoke, seafoam, chartreuse and coral, which was said to be difficult for the factory to achieve with uniformity, according to Ann Kerr's Collector's Encyclopedia of Russel Wright. This explains the variations in color in the pieces I bought. 

The line was produced in 1951 in these items: tumblers in three sizes, a 5 1/4", 15 oz. iced tea, a 4 1/2", 12 oz. water, a 3 3/4", 8 oz. juice; stemmed glasses in five sizes, a 4 1/4", 11 oz. goblet, a 2 3/4", 5 oz. sherbet, a 2 1/2", 3 oz. cocktail, a 4 oz. wine (Kerr didn't list a diameter for this piece.), and a 2", 2 oz. cordial. The cocktail and wine glasses are so similar in size that many collectors have difficulty distinguishing them. In addition to the four colors, the line also included crystal, which is rare.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In the store: Stackin' it deep

The store is full of new many, in fact, that we haven't been able to take a picture of all of them. I'll give you a peek at a few pieces, and there will be more to come in a few days.

Desk, with Magnus Olesen chair
Glass front teak bookcase
Teak credenza
Teak room divider with dropfront bar
Teak corner cabinet
Burke dining table and armchairs

In a few days, I'll have photos of a great 10-foot sofa, a cute little blue fiberglass Herman Miller rocker and a beautiful set of two step tables and corner table with travertine tops, just to name a few.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Never too old to learn

Preservation Dallas, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Dallas’ buildings, neighborhoods and culture, has offered a series of adult education classes since 2003. Called the Summer Sizzler series, this year's classes include two of particular interest to mid-century enthusiasts.

Midcentury Modern Resources for Homeowners
July 26, 2011, 6:00-7:30pm

Speaker: Cliff Welch, AIA, Welch Architecture
Tuesday, July 26; 6:00-7:30pm

This talk will discuss the approach that one firm takes on resourcing and restoring post-war modern residential architecture and interiors. In addition to the overall design, this genre has its own palette of materials: from paint colors, plastic laminate, ceramic tile, cabinetry and furnishings.

White Rock Lake: The Centennial of an Urban Oasis

Speakers: Peggy Riddle, Jim Anderson, Sally Rodriguez 

Thursday, July 28; 6:00-7:30pm

This interactive program features little known facts about the White Rock area and never before seen photographs. Come ready to participate! This is your opportunity to ask the experts as well as provide your own memorable stories from this beloved area. Following will be a book signing for White Rock Lake by Sally Rodriguez.

I couldn't find a registration deadline, so apparently it's not too late, even though I was remiss in not announcing this sooner.  For details and registration form, go to the Preservation Dallas site.

For those of you who don't live in the Dallas, Texas, area, I highly recommend the Preservation Dallas site anyway. You can read about what's being done in our city and find links to valuable resources if you are interested in preserving your mid-century neighborhood.

MCM home in Greenway Parks

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pretty Pollo

I've embarked on a new quest. I'm looking for a Pollo vase by Tapio Wirkkala for Rosenthal. The vase isn't that hard to find, but getting one that's affordable is going to be a challenge. They usually go for about $125, which is quite a bit for a vase that's only 5" long and less than 4" high. I've found a couple on eBay that are unbelievably cheap, so I imagine the bidding is going to be fairly intense. Luckily, there's no rush, so I can bid whenever I see one at the right price. Eventually, I'll win one. In the meantime, I'm enjoying looking at pictures of them.

Pollo vase by Tapio Wirkkala
Beautiful detail around the neck of the vase
Rosenthal markings on vase

Saturday, July 23, 2011

"I think best in wire." --Alexander Calder

At first I thought my Blogger account had gone all wonky on me. I was having an unprecedented number of page views Thursday...four times what I usually have on a good day. I noticed that most of them were on a post I wrote months ago about Alexander Calder and mobiles, which has always logged the most views of all my posts. Still, I was suspicious that it was a glitch, even though I had comments from several readers I'd never seen before.

When I got up yesterday morning, I looked at my stats, and the page views for the day had shot up to more than 16,000 overnight. That cinched it. I was ready to contact Blogger and tell them my account was fried...till I looked at Google. It turned out that Google was celebrating the 113th anniversary of Calder's birth on July 22, 1898, by having a mobile in the well-known "Google Doodle" spot. When I clicked to read more about the artist, I found that my post was on Google's first page. That explained it. By 7:00 p.m., when the counter rolled over, my hits for the day had reached 17,955. Crazy! I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. I never knew the Google Doodle had that kind of impact on web searches. (The Calder Doodle is gone, and today is back to normal, incidentally.)

But thank you, Google, for driving so much new traffic my way yesterday... and thank you, Alexander Calder.

Google Doodle, July 22, 2011
Calder in his Paris studio, 14 Rue de la Colonie, fall 1931. Photograph by Marc Vaux
Sumac II, 1952
The Y, 1960

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bring on the barware

While visiting the Modish site, which is one of my favorites places to look at extraordinary glass, ceramics and metal, I spotted this beautiful Hellerware ice bucket. Imagine my delight when I found one on eBay the same day. The seller was accepting offers, so I submitted a number, and it was immediately accepted.

Posted by studiosmith on
Close-up of incised design on the piece I bought

This ice bucket was produced in the 1950s by Morris Heller and Sons, Inc., of Newark, New Jersey, and marketed as "Masterpieces of Elegance in Chromium."  It is lined with milkglass and topped with a slim teak handle. With its incised leaf design, I think it will be a perfect companion to my vintage cocktail shaker and modern geometric wine stoppers.

Vintage cocktail shaker with incised design
Modern geometric design wine stoppers

Additionally, there are Hellerware tumblers that match the ice bucket. The crystal glasses fit into a cork-lined sleeve that prevents condensation. The tumblers with plain chrome sleeves seem fairly easy to find on eBay, but I may hold out till I can find the ones with the leaf pattern like the ones below. I'm still weighing the pros and cons. On one hand, I'm not known for my patience, and I may decide I don't want to go so matchy-matchy. However, I think the plain sleeves would show fingerprints badly. Which would you buy?

Plain Hellerware glasses
Matching Hellerware tumblers
Posted by studiosmith on