Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our First Jellyfish

Not only is the first representation of a jellyfish that we've ever had at The End of History, but at the same time the most spectacular Murano aquarium we've ever had the pleasure of offering. Plus it's the largest example we've had as well, just over 13 inches wide and 7.5 inches tall.
 Dating to the 1950s and signed with a silver foil sticker Salviati.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Naturalistic Modernism

A large and impressive burl wood mid century sculpture. This unsigned beauty is carved from a solid block of cherry wood and stands 32" tall on it's original custom base.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wilde About Blue & White

"I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china." Oscar Wilde.
What we have here is a perfect example of a piece of blue china that Oscar Wilde was talking about, a Japanese Arita ware porcelain ginger jar circa 1880. Hand painted with birds and floral decoration, a type of blue & white porcelain that was so fashionable among the aesthetes of London in the 1880s and their rage for all things Japanese. Seven and a half inches tall.

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Big in Venice and Montreal

Although this monumental vase, at 40 inches tall, has only a store label on it, Birks of Montreal, It's clearly a Murano piece from the 1960s and my attribution is Barbini, as it looks very much like his work.
 Birks is a fine jewelry and gift store, remember when jewelry stores sold fine glass and china as well as jewelry?
 In 1879 Henry Birks opened a small jewellery shop in the heart of Montreal's financial and commercial district.  The Birks store moved to new premises on Phillips Square in 1894, where the company still maintains a store.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Taxco Treasure

A sterling silver Taxco footed cup with lapis & malachite inlay, stamped "Los Castillo Taxco  Hecho a Mano Mexico. This small beauty, at 4 inches tall, dates to the late 1940s/early 50s.

The history of silver in Taxco is a fascinating combination of legend and fact. Located in the hills between Acapulco and about 100 miles Southwest of Mexico City, Taxco in the state of Guerrero is one of Photo of taxco hills with churchthe oldest mining sites located in the Americas. It's natural wealth of silver attracted early Conquistadors.

 Before the Spanish arrived the native Indians called it Tlacho meaning the place of the ballgame. According to local legend the Aztecs had the locals pay tribute to them with gold bars. Hernan Cortes arrived and the Spanish conquered the Aztecs in 1521. A year afterwards Cortes staked his mining claim in Taxco. By the end of the century, silver from Taxco had spread across Europe, and remote Taxco was famous for its wealth of silver. It had become Spain's primary source in the New World of precious metals and had become a busy mining area.  Mining gradually decreased in the Taxco area as other richer and more accessible mining areas were discovered and developed, and eventually faded out for almost 200 years.

In the late 1920's the highway from Mexico City finally reached Taxco and in 1926, William Spratling, a U.S. citizen  and associate architecture professor from Tulane University arrived in Taxco to study Mexico and its culture. In1929 he moved to Mexico and was welcomed into the influential artistic circles of Mexico. In 1931 U.S. Ambassor Dwight Morrow commented to Mr. Spratling that Taxco had been the site of silver mines for centuries, but unfortunately had never been considered a location where jewelry and objects of silver were designed and made. This seemingly insignificant comment changed the course of Taxco's artistic and economic history. 

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Hunt

We are honored to be included in author Joanna King's Latest guide to all things unique, locally owned and independent in New York City, The Hunt 4th Edition. From where to stay, shop, eat and play while doing so independently and in style. Covering Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens, there's something for everyone to discover here, even if you live in New York. We're on page 46.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Imari Garden

Back to Japan in the late 19th Century, this time with a marvelous Imari porcelain centerpiece bowl with scalloped edges and typical floral motifs in cobalt, reds and gold. Just over 12 inches in length.
 Imari porcelain refers to a type of porcelain made in the town of Arita since the 17th Century and was widely distributed throughout Europe by the Dutch East India Company, who established a trading post in Nagasaki in1636 that was built on an artificial island, so as to limit the contact of the Japanese population to the barbaric outsiders by order of the Shogun.
 Imari patterns were so popular that by the 18th Century the Chinese were making their own versions of it, as well as many English and European manufactures. The Dutch held onto their exclusivity until the Americans smashed the trade monopoly after Commodore Perry's intervention. From the 1850s on a flood of new Imari porcelain production became available in Europe and North America.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

French Neoclassicism

This pate de verre purple and gold glass vase by Georges de Feure dates to circa 1920 and shows the early influence of classical design on the essentially French style that was to become known as Art Deco.
 Small and perfect in every way, this little beauty is 6 inches tall.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Swedish Polar Bear

A large, at 11 inches long, and heavy, 5 lbs, stonewear Polar Bear marked "EGO STENGODS"
Ego Stengods was a ceramic factory founded by Willy Fischer and Gösta Olofsson in 1966.
Willy Fischer worked previously for Rörstand and was the artistic director for Ego Stegods.
Tyra Lundgren was a great artist who also worked for Ego Stengods, she was specially skilled in modeling ceramic animals and may well be the creator of this beautiful bear.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mid Century Safari

Although not the first Italian Zebra we've featured on this blog, he just might be the cutest. Signed "Manlio" and marked Italy he's 15 inches long and 12 inches tall and dates to the 1960s.
Black and white is in this season they say but it's always a chic and classic combination at The End of History.

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Black Gold

A Bitossi Brutalist gilded vase from the 1960s.This is a piece that speaks for itself, or you could say the label says it all. 10.5 inches tall.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

Satsuma Opulence

A large and over the top gilded late 19th Century Japanese Satsuma Koro (incense burner) with a seated Shishi dog on the lid for good luck. This spectacular example is 16 inches tall and has survived for at least 120 years in perfect condition.

The Japanese stand at the London World Fair 1862

Two events in the 19th Century propelled Japan not only into the modern world and trade with the West but into the fashionable salons of London, Paris and New York. The first was the arrival of U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry's fleet in 1853 demanding that Western ships be allowed to restock and trade in Japanese ports after centuries of self imposed isolation. The second was the Meiji Restoration in 1868 and the beginning of the Empire of Japan. Feudal Lords, each with their own Samurai warriors, were forced to give up their armies to a central government and Emperor. When this happened the artisans involved in making armor, and luxury goods for the various feudal Lords and households were encouraged to turn their workshops of metalwork, ceramics and other crafts into exporters of goods for the Western eye.

Throughout the late 19th Century there were World Fairs all over Europe and North America where all the nations of the world exhibited their latest technological and artistic achievements. At each one the Japanese displays of fabulous artistic wares caused a sensation and soon the public was flocking to stores like Liberty & Co. in London, Samuel Bing's Maison de l'Art Nouveau in Paris and Gump's in San Francisco. Bing in particular changed the direction of art and design in Europe. At the end of the 1880s, Bing founded a monthly periodical, Le Japon artistique, and organized a series of exhibitions of rare Japanese art, featuring ceramics and ukiyo-e prints. Many of the great impressionist painters, including Van Gogh, were customers and collectors of his Japanese woodblock prints, vases and other pieces of Japonisme.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Victor Salvatore Bronze

This sublime female portrait in bronze was crafted by Italian American sculptor Victor Salvatore (1885-1965) in 1922. Green patinated bronze, and foundry mark R.B.W. for the Roman Bronze Works. Although only 4 inches tall this compact work of art has a powerful timeless beauty.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Burma Vase

By Ingrid Atterbberg for Upsala Ekeby, Sweden. Only made in 1954 and 1955 this beautiful little vase is only 6.25 inches tall but makes a strong modernist statement in miniature.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

From 79 AD to 1879 AD

The cult of Isis, an Egyptian Goddess, was one of the most popular in Pompeii. The Temple of Isis featured statues and images of Isis as well as other Egyptian gods and goddesses. The worship of Isis was adopted by the nobility, and this wealthy background shows in the treasures found within its walls. There was a small room at the rear of the temple, which is believed to have been used as a meeting-room for followers of the cult; the marble and bronze table found there, and now known as the Isis Table, was probably used to serve sacred meals.
 The preserved Pompeian temple is actually the second structure; the original building built under Augustan was damaged in an earlier earthquake of 62 AD. Seventeen years later, in 79 AD, with the massive volcanic eruption, the Iseum alone was the sole temple to have been completely re-built.
 Principal devotees of this temple were women, free men, and slaves. Initiates of the Isis cult worshipped a compassionate goddess who promised eventual salvation and a perpetual relationship throughout life and after death. The temple itself was reconstructed in honor of a 6 year-old boy by his free man father, Numerius, to allow the child to enter elite society. Many scenes from the temple are re-created in the villas of wealthy of Pompeians, indicating that citizens visited this temple for political, economic, or social reasons.
 This small and almost intact temple was among one of the first discoveries during the excavation of Pompeii in 1764. The original table is housed in the Museo Archeologico in Naples.
 Our spectacular pair of bronze and marble reproductions were made in Italy and date to the 19th Century when wealthy Europeans and Americans would go on the "Grand Tour" to visit all the classical sites, returning with luxury goods such as these tables to furnish their opulent homes.
 Each one is 29 inches tall and 23 inches in diameter.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

William Kent Sculpture

In the 1960s William Kent's works were hailed by the New York Times as “Masterfully rendered and highly refined in technique, they smolder with a timeless power.” Kent’s work was in the 1966 Whitney Biennial and other museum exhibitions. He even invented an entirely new printing medium. But this master sculptor, one of America’s greatest, was soon overlooked and then forgotten. An irascible character, contemptuous of the commercial art world, he disappeared from the New York scene. He chose an ascetic path, living and working in a dairy barn nestled in the rolling hills of Connecticut. A New York Times critic once called him “the world’s greatest living carver of wood; there’s not even anyone close.” His huge and awe-inspiring carved wood sculptures have been compared to those of Brancusi. And his paintings and monoprints push far beyond those of Warhol.

 A carved wooden bowl sculpture, 1950s. Signed on the bottom initials WK inside a rectangle.  This work appears in his book. William Kent Carvings A Record. Organized & printed by William Kent on The Philistine Press, New Haven, Connecticut, 1960. By the artist WK. "These bowls were not made to hold mixed salads, fruit, or assorted nuts; nor were the large ones fashioned to be used as planters. They are interesting shapes, and the small ones were designed to be hung on a wall and looked at."
 This amazing example of a forgotten master carvers work is 33 inches long.

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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Back to England

Today I'm returning to my home town of Shanklin on the Isle of Wight for a family visit. I will be taking a break from the usual reporting on vases for the blog for the next 10 days or so. Check our instagram account for photos of the Isle of Wight and London.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Snap, Crackle & Pop

If you had to have just one lidded jar in your life, then this would be the one. Designed by Thorkild Olsson for Royal Copenhagen in the 1940s and a real show stopper at 14 inches tall.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Accolay Afrique

Another example of French, African inspired, ceramic art. This wonderfully glazed tribal mask comes to us from the artists of Accolay, circa 1950s, 9 inches tall.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monumental Deco Jar

A huge Flambe lidded jar by Rörstrand from the 1930s, 21 inches tall. The piece is marked as unique and I can tell from the decoration that it was commissioned by the Swedish Post Office. There are the trumpets that are a familiar logo to anyone who has received as many packages from Sweden as I have! Every scene depicts people holding envelopes and airplanes, so I'm thinking this piece was made to celebrate the start of Swedish air mail in the 1930s.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Big Cat

A very large, 16" long and 14" tall, crackle glaze and multicolored ceramic lion attributed to Marcello Fantoni. It is signed Italy and Raymor. A zoomorphic masterpiece.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Grand Gunnar

A Gunnar Nylund "Rubus" monumental vase for Rörstrand from the 1950s. 20 inches tall, again one of a pair.

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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Swedish Samba

Another example of why we love Upsala Ekeby ceramics so much. This pattern in teal and cobalt blue stripes is called "Samba" and was designed by Mari Simmulson in the 1950s. just over 14 inches tall and one of a pair.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bathing Beauty

A small but beautiful bronze sculpture of a classical figure by Just Andersen, one of our favorite Danish artists. This piece dates to the 1940s and is 9 inches tall.

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Grande Pappagallo Bianco

Today we bring you one of the rarest birds in the world, the Great White Parrot. Only found in Italy and believed to be extinct since the early 1970s when the invasion of lesser Asian parrots flooded the western world.
 What we have here is a wonderful example of Italian skill in ceramic modeling. This giant example is 30 inches tall, which makes it one of the largest pieces of ceramic art we've ever had.
 Signed F. Nucci circa 1960.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Big in Sweden

Ewald Dahlskog monumental vase for Bo Fajans from the 1930's. This beautiful large vase has the most gorgeous light gray/lavender glaze, a rare and wonderful object. Just over 17 inches tall.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

It's a Zoo in Here

When one thinks of the Burgundy region of France it's wine that comes to mind not Giraffes.
However this handsome little fellow is one of the whimsical, ceramic fired onto steel wire, animals made by the Accolay studio in the 1950s. 10 inches tall.
 We have the adoption papers ready to sign!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Folkloric Modernism

A striking and rare, large Swedish vase at 17 inches tall, by Danish artist, Mette Dollar for Höganäs, circa 1940s.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

Green Paprika

It was Anna-Lisa Thomson's Paprika line for Upsala Ekeby that started my love affair with this wonderful Swedish studio. Made from 1946 into the 50s this intricately hand modeled palm motif is usually seen in white on a matte terra-cotta base, the green is much rarer and we have never seen this particular model in green before. 14 inches tall.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Fab Fantoni

The most beautiful Fantoni vase we have ever seen just arrived at the shop. The greens and purples remind me so much of Monet's later paintings of water lilies in his garden at Giverny. This is a large and imposing vase at 16 inches tall and dates to the 1950s.
 Marcello Fantoni was born in Florence in 1915. In 1934 he graduated as an art teacher from the Art Institute of Porta Romana Florence, he then set up his first studio in 1936 in a converted stable in Florence. In 1946 he opened a newer and larger studio and workshop in Florence.
  In 1970 he founded the International School of Ceramic Art at his workshop on via Bolognese in Florence, where he continued to work and teach until his death in 2011.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Meanwhile on the Côte d'Azur

From the town of Vallauris comes this delicious chocolate brown and yellow ceramic bowl created some time in the 1950s and stamped "Vallauris". Nine inches in diameter.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Mystery Green Blobs

This small but heavy hand blown glass vase, 6.5 inches & 3lbs weight, is a little bit of a puzzle.
Is it Italian or Scandinavian? It may even be German, but one thing we know for sure is that it's a beautiful example of mid century European art glass.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Mid Century Roman

Although this chic classical style box appears to be made of bronze, it's actually a ceramic piece from the 1950s and is signed Bronzini. Just under 7 inches square.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Another Atterberg Aquisition

Ingrid Atterberg for Ekeby fluted floor vase, Swedish 1950s. This huge vase is 20 inches tall and is a charcoal base with light yellow fluting.
 We have never seen this design in such a giant size and I doubt that we'll ever see another one.

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