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Modernist handblown mystery glass vase looks like Art Glass Whirlpool Vase by Robert Fritz

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KatyaP's items6 of 16Antique needlepoint tapestryMystery modernist crystal vase
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    Posted 9 years ago

    (16 items)

    I need some serious help with this fascinating piece of glass. Unsigned but stunning, it is really driving me mad!

    The closest example I have been able to find is Whirlpool Vase by Robert Fritz which goes for $$$

    Is this one of his piece or not?


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    1. KatyaP KatyaP, 9 years ago
      Thank you Rob, it is precisely what I was thinking although I have not seen the example you quoted above. I studied the vase but just do not see any signatures which is a bummer!
    2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 9 years ago
      I agree that it's a stunning piece of glass. I prefer the view in photo 3. It is amber as in the fourth photo? Love the pierced section that sets up the internal bubble. Nice!
    3. KatyaP KatyaP, 9 years ago
      yes, its a beautiful smoky amber like colour. I was fascinated by it so I had to buy it!
    4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 8 years ago
      *°·`*~~ SEASON'S GREETINGS - KATYA!~~*`.°*
    5. globo globo, 1 year ago
      Gosh, somehow I acquired six glass works by Robert C. Fritz in recent years, and I can say this piece has two characteristics to support the hand of Fritz, and—sorry— another two discouraging that idea.
      It is 1) typically biomorphic, like every decent kidney-shaped pool or coffee table of Fritz’ era, but with the idiomatic, sometimes bio-implausible lines that Fritz liked; and 2) it is possessed of those attenuated glass “bridges” vaulting from one interior wall to another, a wonderful conceit that I once heard described by Fritz (through a colleague’s remembrance) as “ligaments” of the glass’ visual architecture. That’s a very Modernist element, but freshly refined by Fritz. Ligamental evocations are not his utterly original idea, since they already enriched 20th-century graphic design, three-dimensional craft and sculptural media, and architectural esthetics like Louis Sullivan’s appointments and the iconic whiplash tendrils of Art Nouveau. Even some contemporary composers, like Thomas Ades, discuss the ligaments, viscera and sclerotic arteries in their music (listen to Ades’ “Albion“ for an homage to the ecstasy of scepter’d isle agony).
      On the less confirmatory side, 1) Fritz seems rarely to have worked in clear or colorless glass like this piece, and 2) it seems uncharacteristic of him to leave a finished piece unsigned.
      I believe he was proud of nurturing the glass program at San Jose State University from infancy, as it was one of the first three or four such academic institutions in the U.S. to grant such cultural authority to art glass. And Fritz had every reason to be proud—of both his teaching theory and his art glass—having studied with the pioneers Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labado in Corning, NY, and Toledo, OH, (respectively, I think). Why wouldn’t he sign a work he endorsed?
      So perhaps this is an experimental piece of his, not intended for museum-level veneration so not worth the expense of richly colored material or worthy of his imprimatur. Or maybe it’s one of those groaning copies by a student (“from the school of Raphael“ is probably the worst buzz-kill a wealthy collector can hear).
      I can only offer ambivalence—this is neither an ephemeral “sketch” nor a dazzling rarity. But it’s a mid-century artifact quite representative of the pioneer years of art-glass in America. Importantly, there are still authenticated Fritz works scattered in private hands, so acquiring one or two of those would bolster your own seriousness in the regard of markets and consignment firms. Don’t forget, wrapping a “probable” Leonardo in 15th-century bling and the glow of proximity with many verified Renaissance masters produced a handsome outcome for a lot of people. Undeservedly for them, in my estimation, but exactly what a spoiled-prince who murders journalists deserves.

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