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CZECH DECO EXPORT: RIM VARIATIONS.

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Posted 2 years ago

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Alfredo
(518 items)

BEFORE GOING INTO MY NEW PIECE ITSELF, I'D LIKE TO SAY A FEW WORDS WITH RESPECT TO WHAT I CALL "CZECH DECO EXPORT GLASS".

COLLECTORS OR SELLERS, TEND TO SUFFER FROM A VERITABLE IDENTIFICATION MANIA THAT MANY TIMES LEADS THEM TO MAKE CLAIMS THAT THEY LATER HAVE TO RETRACT. I KNOW. I HAVE DONE IT MYSELF.

THE PERIOD FROM 1900 TO THE EARLIEST DAYS BEFORE WWII SAW AN UNPRECEDENTED BOOM FOR THE CZECH GLASS EXPORT INDUSTRY. THE PROCESS IS DOCUMENTED THROUGH THE SALES CATALOGS OF AMERICAN WHOLESALERS SUCH AS BUTLER BROTHERS, WHO CLEARLY LABELED THEIR IMPORTED WARES AS BOHEMIAN, CZECH AND EVEN TANGO.

HOWEVER, THEY NEGLECTED TO MENTION WHO HAD DONE WHAT. MANUFACTURERS WERE NOT IMPORTANT. THIS WAS MASS-PRODUCED GLASS FOR EXPORT. IT REPRESENTED A COUNTRY'S OUTPUT, NOT THE INDIVIDUAL COMPANIES WHICH COLLECTIVELY WORKED TO FILL HUMONGOUS ORDERS FROM ABROAD.

A VARIETY OF MIDDLEMEN USED A VARIETY OF LABELS AND PROVENANCE MARKS IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH RECENT RULES DEMANDING THAT PIECES FOR EXPORT BE MARKED WITH COUNTRY OF ORIGIN.

THEREFORE, PROVENANCE MARKS, WITH VERY FEW EXCEPTIONS, SHOULD NOT BE ASSIGNED TO A PARTICULAR COMPANY.

THE PERIOD LACKS WIDE PRIMARY DOCUMENTATION, AND EVERY COMPANY WAS PRODUCING PRACTICALLY THE SAME TYPE OF WARE, CREATING AN ALMOST INSURMOUNTABLE ID PROBLEM.

IN ORDER TO BRING SOME KIND OF SENSE TO THE ID DISCUSSION, WHICH MANY TIMES BECOMES AS PARTISAN AS THE HALLS OF CONGRESS, I COINED THE TERM: “CZECH DECO EXPORT GLASS".

IT IS MEANT TO INCLUDE ALL CZECH GLASS FOR WHICH THERE IS DOCUMENTATION IN AMERICAN WHOLESALE CATALOGS. WE HAVE ONLY SEEN THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG WITH THE MATERIALS IN THE BB CATALOGS.

MY DEFINITION ALSO INCLUDES MATERIAL SUCH AS THE RUCKL, PALDA, AND KRALIK CATALOG PAGES FOUND IN TRUITT, AND THE LOETZ, RUCKL AND HECKERT DESIGN BOOKS.

TO QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF PRIMARY MATERIALS --PERIOD CATALOGS, DESIGN BOOKS, INVOICES ETC AND OTHER SOURCES SUCH AS PAZAUREK'S--AND THE FAILURE TO ADMIT PARADIGM CHANGES, IS TO COMMIT RESEARCH SUICIDE.

WHAT DO WE KNOW? PROVENANCE, SELLER/ DISTRIBUTOR/ SHAPES, AND IN SOME CASES, DECORS AND COLORS. WE CAN EVEN TENTATIVELY ASSIGN THEM TO MANUFACTURERS, BUT ALWAYS WITH THE POSSIBILITY TOMORROW WE MAY HAVE TO CHANGE OUR MINDS.

EVEN THE DEFINITION OF TANGO HAS EVOLVED. WHILE MANY PURISTS INSIST IT CAN ONLY BE A SOLID OPAL COLOR WITH CONTRASTING ACCENTS, IT IS NOW USED IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC AND ELSEWHERE AS SYNONYMOUS WITH THEIR WIDER DECO EXPERT PRODUCTION, INCLUDING TRANSPARENT, VARIEGATED AND SPATTER GLASS.

AND SO, WE COME TO THE NEWEST ADDITION TO MY COLLECTION. OPAL YELLOW GLASS, COVERED IN ORANGE SPOTS AND WITH A CLEAR OUTER CASE. TRIM AND HANDLE IN COBALT BLUE. ALL OF 4.5" TALL, UNMARKED.

WHAT DO I KNOW? THAT IT WAS MADE IN BOHEMIA. THAT THE GENERIC DESIGN FOR IT APPEARS FROM 1929 ON IN THE BB CATALOGS.

BUT, MOST IMPORTANTLY, THAT THE SAME TREATMENT OF THE MOUTH APPEARS IN VASES WITH OTHER SIZES AND DECORS. THE LAST PICTURE SHOWS WHAT I MEAN.

IN ADDITION, I HAVE THE SAME PARTICULAR MOUTH IN LARGE 9" VASES: SINGLE, DOUBLE AND TRIPLE MOUTHED PICTHERS, GENERICALLY ATTRIBUTED TO KRALIK (AH YES, AT THE PASSAU MUSEUM). ARE THEY?

ALL 6 OF MY VASES MUST HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE SAME MANUFACTURER, GIVEN THEIR STRUCTURAL SIMILARITIES.
DO I DARE SAY WHAT MANUFACTURER MIGHT BE THE MAKER?

I'LL LET THE CZECHS TRY IT FIRST. SOME "UNSOLVED MYSTERIES" NEED TO REMAIN JUST THAT.

Comments

  1. TxSilver, 2 years ago
    Alfredo, this is not an uncommon problem. Often someone shows me a piece of Murano glass and asks who made it. The answer could be just about any company in Murano. They made what was popular and were, of course, interested in selling their wares. Companies copied or made things so similar that it was difficult to tell one company from another. Most common 19-20th Cent Murano glass will probably never be attributed. The best we can do is sort the quality from the lesser glass. It doesn't surprise me that Czech glass made during this same time would have the same problems with attributions. Still, it is easy to tell the good from the bad.
  2. Alfredo Alfredo, 2 years ago
    Consider this: "Today's collectors may not realize it but [American] glass plants . . . were not generally not interested in selling small quantities to the public at retail prices. Instead, the companies sought large orders from the chain department and general merchandise stores as well as catalog mail order houses such as Montgomery Ward and Butler Brothers, which sold retail and wholesale respectively." James Measell, GCD II, n. 3 (Feb.-March 1989): 11. It also applies to the Czech industry.
  3. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 6 months ago
    Great post Alfredo. Thanks for explaining the whole 'export' thing. So your responsible for the phrase 'Czech export'. Lol. So actually it means glass that there is documentation for?
  4. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 6 months ago
    Evening Alfredo. Sorry, I'm still struggling to understand 'Czech Export'.
    More precisely do you mean, there is documentation of these 'exports' but not necessarily from which glass house they were from? of which there were many, making the same vases.
    Is that roughly right?
    Please correct me if I'm wrong.
  5. czechman czechman, 4 months ago
    Must read for every Czech glass collector!! this is GOLD .. Thanks again for this posting Al..it needs alot more attn

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