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Great American Glass: The Roaring Twenties and Depression Era

December 10, 2008 - May 30, 2010

Tarter/Miller Gallery

| Dr. James Measell, Guest Curator

The glass collection of Jabe Tarter and Paul Miller holds wonderful evidence of the creativity and entrepreneurial spirit of the glass makers of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. This exhibition, curated by James Measell, historian at the Fenton Art Glass Company, focuses on pieces from the second quarter of the twentieth century, a period known as "between the wars," a period spanning both luxurious excess and deep depression.

During the 1920s and 1930s, American glass companies created an extraordinary variety of products, ranging from expensive art glass to inexpensive glassware for everyday use. Handmade glassware was especially popular in the 1920s, and the firms making such products used traditional pressing and blowing techniques, equipment, and tools. In the 1930s, manufacturers came to rely on automatic machines to produce great quantities of utilitarian glassware.

Victorian and Colonial styles persisted, but Art Deco also had its time. Decorative techniques involved cutting, etching, hand painting, or sandblasting as well as the use of decals or silver deposit. Interestingly, every American glass manufacturer seems to have produced candlesticks, albeit during a period when electricity was being made available to almost every American home.

There was something in glass for everyone: graceful console sets for the foyer; colorful luncheon sets in distinctive hues for formal occasions; and utilitarian articles of all kinds for food preparation and storage in the kitchen.

This exhibition, curated by James Measell, historian at the Fenton Art Glass Company, focuses on pieces from the second quarter of the twentieth century, a period known as "between the wars," a period spanning both luxurious excess and deep depression.