Corning, NY—The Corning Museum of Glass has recently acquired several important works, including a room-sized installation by Kiki Smith, three exceptional cast glass gems, and an Art Deco necklace by René Lalique.
Recent additions to the holdings of the Rakow Research Library of The Corning Museum of Glass include a unique 18th century contract outlining the trade of land for glassware and a one-of-a-kind book cover inlaid with electroformed glass by Michael Glancy.
Kiki Smith, Constellation
The internationally recognized sculptor and printmaker Kiki Smith frequently uses glass, in addition to many other materials, to explore ideas about the body, landscape and nature. In the Museum’s acquisition, made in 1996, the artist has brought the heavens to earth in a room-sized installation titled Constellation. The work is comprised of hot-sculpted glass animals of different sizes designed by Smith and produced by the Venetian maestro Pino Signoretto, cast glass stars, and hundreds of pieces of cast bronze animal scat. These elements are arranged into an imaginary night sky on a large circular field of handmade indigo-dyed Nepal paper. The work will be displayed in the new contemporary gallery of the Museum’s North Wing, opening in December, 2014. (2013.4.38, gift in part of Kiki Smith and Pace Gallery, New York, dimensions vary)
James and William Tassie, Three intaglio gems
The Museum has recently acquired three exceptional examples of glass gems crafted by London modelers James and William Tassie from 1777 to 1860. These gems are part of a larger set of extremely refined copies of known ancient gems, which were avidly collected by connoisseurs touring Europe who were hoping to make a personal association with the ancient world by acquiring its remains. Glass reproductions provided greater access to understanding ancient art at the turn of the century.
Two of the gems are reproductions of stone intaglios with 19th century origins. Both are cast in a transparent brownish amber glass and are inscribed with the names of the original makers, Edward Burch and Nathaniel Marchant, respectively. The first gem depicts the Greek god Apollo wearing a laurel wreath. The second shows the figure of Agrippina, who sits beside a cinerary urn mourning for her dead husband Germanicus. The third gem is a reproduction of an ancient Roman cameo, signed by Sostratos, that is held in the collection of the British Museum. Cast in an emerald green glass, the gem depicts the partial scene of winged Eros leading a chariot drawn by two lionesses or female panthers. The ancient gem from which the scene was copied was broken, and the reproduction reflects this fact. It is inscribed in Greek ϹΩϹТРАТОY-meaning “of or by Sostratos.” The three Tassie gems are a gift of former Museum director Dr. Dwight Lanmon and his wife, Lorri Lanmon. (2013.3.8, Apollo gem: H: 2.5 cm, W: 2 cm, D: 0.7 cm; 2013.3.9, Agrippina gem: H: 2.5 cm, W: 2.2 cm, D: 0.5 cm; 2013.3.10, Eros gem: H: 1.9 cm, W: 2.4 cm, D: 0.7 cm)
René Lalique, Necklace, Dahlias et rondelles plates
The large pressed glass beads of the recently acquired Dahlias et rondelles plates (Dahlias and flat rings) necklace, designed in 1927 by the renowned French designer René Lalique, reflect the Art Deco style of the early 20th century. Characterized by motifs depicting stylized nature, speed, the machine, geometry, and sleek neoclassical human figures, Art Deco fashion reflected the changing roles of women, highlighted bold, bright patterns, and provided fashion designers with the opportunity to try new and adventurous styles. Late in his career, Lalique departed from his elite, one-of-a-kind jewelry creations to design limited edition necklaces aimed at the everyday woman, such as the Dahlias et rondelles plates. The necklace will be on display for the first time in the exhibition René Lalique: Enchanted by Glass, opening May 2014. (2013.3.6, purchased in part with funds donated by Elaine and Stanford Steppa, Diam: 18 cm)
Land indenture between English glass manufacturer Samuel Parker and Philadelphia merchant James Cowles Fisher
The Museum’s Rakow Library has acquired an 18th century land contract between English glass manufacturer Samuel Parker and Philadelphia merchant James Cowles Fisher. The contract, iron gall and red ink on parchment, outlines the exchange of a tract of 13,500 acres of land near the Pine Creek waters of the Susquehanna River in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania for 7,087 pounds and 10 shillings of glassware to be shipped in six installments to America. One-quarter of the glass would be flint and the other three-quarters would be crown. The contract is dated February 4, 1797, a year before Samuel Parker took over his father’s glass manufacturing business. The Parkers were the principal lighting suppliers for King George IV. (Bib ID 133977, 1 document: iron gall and red ink on parchment; 20 x 10 cm. (folded))
Michael Glancy: Infinite Obsessions
This special edition of the monograph Michael Glancy: Infinite Obsessions, recently gifted to the Rakow Library by the artist, has a one-of-a-kind inlaid glass cover. The inlay, titled Almost Perfect, is a piece of German sign glass which Glancy cut and then applied electroformed copper in his signature style. The glass was given to the artist by Dale Chihuly when Glancy was a student at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) between 1974 and 1980. Both the book and the glass are signed by the artist. (Bib ID 123028, 228 p.: ill. (chiefly col.); 28 x 30 cm.)