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Studying the Subtleties of Vase Shape

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    Posted 9 years ago

    (5 items)

    I have been visiting several of the suggested sites and studying in particular the shapes of classic vases made by different manufacturers. The line-up of 5 vases that I put together have the identification ascribed to them at those sites. It seems to my eye that the Harrach vases differ from the Kralik ball vases in that the Harrach shape is widest at the top and tapers slightly toward the bottom, while the Kralik vases tend to be more bulbous. (I couldn’t find enough variations in Rindskopf to make a judgment.) This tapered shape seems to confirm GSO’s take that the first vase I posted was possibly Harrach (see photo #6). Now I’m looking at a new blue/green vase that appear to have the Harrach tapered shape, but with a characteristic I haven’t seen yet—small bumps running between the lobes (looks like someone’s spine). Is this another Harrach feature?

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    1. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      you can't go on shape alone with bohemian glass. The companies often offered similar products to each other for a couple reasons. One a reseller would go to a company a company b and company c and give them all the same design and mold to get quantity fulfilled.
      and/or it was just a popular shape and to compete you wanted to offer what the people seemed to want.
      I have doubts that number 4 in your line up is harrach. the pics are too small to get good detail on for me but from what I can see I think it may be goldberg.

      the piece with the dots or spines is also almost certainly not Harrach. The rainbow piece next to it is Harrach.
    2. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      I've seen examples with the shape I call out in this instance as probably being goldberg from Josephinenhuette and Legras as well. there is another shape that I've seen as Kralik Legras and Goldberg. It can be found in cross decors as this piece. and to add to the confusion Just a little more Harrach was documented as making a identical decor that has been a Goldberg hallmark decor.(it's usually amber glass with texture acb with a silver overlay)

    3. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      It's definitely not loetz.
    4. Mac63 Mac63, 9 years ago
      #4 is not Harrach but as Alisa said Goldberg - my Goldberg :)
    5. Dragonheart43 Dragonheart43, 9 years ago
      Thanks as always for all the info. I’ve numbered the photos because I was getting a little confused, and I’ve corrected the label on the Goldberg vase. I have to say I agree with Obscurities that if all this copying and imitation was going on, and a piece isn’t labeled, how can one truly tell? Especially if subtle differences in decor and shape can be discounted. I found the Kralik site ( interesting in that it contained the most extensive “encyclopedia” of shapes I could find, and nowhere there did I see a vase with the tapered shape of the three Harrachs shown. But if a Kralik or Harrach blank was decorated by another company, who knows? I have my Truitts on order and look forward to studying it’s illustrations. So what is the general consensus on the blue/green with silver overlay? I’m not sure I understood the conclusion.
    6. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      Simple you can't tell.

      and that's ok. I am not sure why you have such a difficult time with this concept.
    7. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      and you assume all identification happens from books and pictures. a lot comes from museum photos and curators. in the case of the identical goldberg decor from harrach it was verified thru line drawings according to the curator (and they did have a lot of the harrach design books at the UPM) the goldberg side is documented thru Pazuerk (sp) I suspect Harrach probably made that kind of glass for goldberg. But who knows. it is identical. I've seen both in person. A lot of the time it is one parent glass house making glass for other companies to resell but consignments happened as well. the glass world in 1900 was not like it is now. These people intermarried and were friends. glass was shared. If they were running low on something at one factory they'd call over to another to buy stuff off them.

      Jitka said so. Deb Truitt said so. Other people that know that part of the world say so. And I've seen enough evidence that I really don't doubt it.
    8. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      The new Loetz pattern book has pages and pages of companies that loetz sold blanks to. I'd love to see a similar line up for Harrach. It's quite wide and varied from what I understand. I am sure Kralik/meyers neffe was also a big seller of blanks but we have no records to know where to look for it for sure.
    9. epson233 epson233, 9 years ago
      nice job -- thanks for taking the time to do the research and share with the rest of us
    10. Dragonheart43 Dragonheart43, 9 years ago
      Thanks everyone. I think it takes time for newbies to arrive at the conclusion that one can often not be sure just what one is getting. So the circle goes round to what one considers aesthetically pleasing and how much you’re willing to pay for the pleasure of owning/enjoying it. And I can also see a divide at this point between whether you’re collecting or buying to resell. I personally do like to know about the history of a piece, but my ultimate goal is to enjoy it. I’ve gotten a lot out of all your comments. Glad you were all willing to share your thoughts.
    11. Dragonheart43 Dragonheart43, 9 years ago
      Thanks, Obscurities, for expressing your thought process so articulately. You are correct that I was studying Shapes for the purpose of developing an eye for clues that might lead me in the right direction when trying to identify the manufacturer of a piece of glass. Some of the sites that have been recommended to me take such care illustrating specific glass shapes produced by different manufacturers that I thought shapes would be a good place to start. I know decor is going to be much more complex. I tend to be analytical and methodical, so having someone explain HOW they reach a conclusion provides an effective learning experience for me. For example, I’m a painter and by using clues such as palette, brush stroke, subject matter, composition, etc., I can make a good guess as to whether the artist of a painting is Rembrandt or Monet, Andrew Wyeth or Degas. Bohemian glass is a new field to me. I believe I have a good visual eye, but it will take time and practice to learn what to look for and how to recognize critical details. Since I don’t have the money to travel to museums abroad, I will have to rely on books and web sites to develop the skills to make a reasonably educated guess. Explanations like yours are a great first step.
    12. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      a broad and sweeping statement = you can't tell from shape alone in bohemian glass..

      right. it's called truth. You *can't* tell from shape alone. other clues must also be in place and even then there should be healthy doubt attached to any attribution. Based on this.
      I have seen more than one unique shape that is reliably linked to many houses. as I said there are two reasons for this (and they are common reasons)

      1. the house was being tapped by a large company to produce many items for resale and that company was tapping numerous houses at once to get the amount of product they needed.
      2. competition
      Actually there is another reason.
      3.the glass houses themselves bought from each other. I've seen documentation involving a few glass houses with this last item. the glass producing houses sold the blanks to all the decorating companies and even other glass producing houses as well as exporters.

      Yeah, museums can make mistakes but they have quite a few more resources than YOU have and they have a lot more examples in hand then YOU Have so I think they're a lot more trust worthy than the rest of us without those resources. In the case mentioned in a prior post.. They have VOLUMES AND VOLUMES of design books and those books had been consulted and verified as fact before being placed in this exhibition.

      It is a serious mistake to dismiss them out of hand because you see another shape somewhere else that belongs to a house that you feel confident of. As you said going off of pictures is dangerous. They are *not* going off of pictures. they have held the glass and know the differences, Markings and other documentation that you have not seen.

      Without the help of books and resources you are just guessing. that's it.

      I will give it to you that there are a few shapes I can think of that are pretty solid hall marks for various companies, but that should be the exception rather than the rule. IMHO. but even then the decor should make sense for the company it's being attributed to. You shouldn't think because it's that shape it's that company and you have a new decor. Maybe means maybe not.

      The shapes I am thinking of, I know Harrach produced. I see them on occasion from other makers but then I know that Harrach was selling their blanks prolifically to other refiners.

      What makes the attribution? the house the glass came from??? or the house that bought it to sell and decorate?

      Many of my attributions for that particular shape are likely wrong (Even if I know harrach MADE the glass) because who knows if Harrach decorated it or if they decorated it to order for a client who would sell it under another name or if it was decorated somewhere else entirely?

      I think you can study shapes til the cows come home but it isn't really going to be a source of enlightenment. Because of the many other factors that need to be considered. Especially for someone who is brand new to bohemian glass.

      with the ribbed example.. I don't know if it's unique or not. I remember a certain unique shaped adventurine piece that ended up having three makers. All of them pretty solid.

      looking closely at the decor though I do agree my first thought was heckert. But it's different enough from those dark pics, that I wouldn't step forward with that with any conviction.

    13. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      Last paragraph was back to the ribbed/dotted example.
    14. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      also if shape were going to be seriously considered a marker for a company measurements of the glass should be part of the equation much in the same way they are with EAPG and Carnival collectors. Size of the foot size of the rim height. you can't tell from pics how big a piece is and what it's dimensions are. Shapes that are very different can look similar. For instance the two harrach examples (the cameo and the marmorietes) above don't look even similar in shape to me because I know what they look like in hand. one is tiny tiny and one is a rather bulky larger thing. they both had bulbous bodies but a lot of glass has a bulbous body. it's a classic shape.

      If you thought you had a same shape you should have measurements to compare. I will give it that it is likely that dimensions are probably different between glass houses iwth the same shape.
    15. Greatsnowyowl Greatsnowyowl, 9 years ago
      you assume that debate (Aventurine) was confined to that one instance of discussion. It's been under the microscope on and off for years now most of which you have not been involved with. I forgot that you were not in on most of that.
    16. artislove artislove, 9 years ago
      this is definitely fine art and when the price is set by the amount of money that is posessed by those who desire these objects so be it!!! ps i also enjoyed others comments thanks for sharing both knowledge and beauty besides the WISDOM

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