M & D Moir

The Great Glass Makers

The great glass makers of the 20th century always seemed to manage to be at the heart of key historic events rather than isolated away from them. It's interesting to note that all the major European glass makers were located in lands whose nationality was hotly disputed during the century.

The great glass makers seem to come in two main types, the great designers/design houses who used glass as one method of expression (Rene Lalique, Galle, Tiffany, even WMF) or the great glass houses who keep up with 'modern' changing designs (Loetz, Moser, Daum).

Collecting glass from these great makers, often referred to collectively as the masters of art glass, has become a major new interest for lots of serious collectors and investors. Often better investments than banks and shares, you also get something magnificent to display.

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Rene Lalique, Emile Galle and Daum

To read about the history and to see our extensive selection of Rene Lalique, Emile Galle and Daum Glass please move across to our website www.ReneLaliqueGlass.com

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(Best Reference: ‘Schneider’, Edith Mannoni (English and French Language), 'Schneider' Gerard Betrand (French) & 'Charles Schneider' Joulin & Maier (English, French and German)

When the Schneider family decided to leave German occupied France in the 1880/90s like many other refugees they found themselves in the border garrison town of Nancy France. These must have been difficult times, but they ended up in the best possible place in the world for glass. Soon the brothers Schneider were part of Emile Galle’s 'Ecole De Nancy' with such people as the Daums and the Muller Fres. And only a little later Ernest Schneider, the marketeer, and Charles Schneider, the glass designer, were working for Daum alongside the Ysart family (who later co-set up Monart).

The next step seemed only too obvious: take their new found skills and friends (the Ysarts –and an accountant Wolf) and set up a glass works for themselves, closer to civilisation – or at least where the money was: the outskirts of Paris.

Unfortunately for the Schneider brothers they opened their new glass works in ‘Epinay sur Seine’ in 1913 and only a few months later they were forced to close down due to the War.

Finally in 1918, sadly after the departure of Salvador Ysart and his three young sons to Edinburgh, the Schneider brothers finally got their glass works fully operational and quickly became very successful.

The Schneiders produced glass in three main ranges; the top quality being ‘Schneider’ and then ‘Le Verre Francais’ and ‘Charder’ for the more popular ranges. Much of their finest work copied the Jade techniques, presumably learnt at Daum, taking the concept to new heights and producing some incredible glass. They also produced a lot of highly stylised Art Deco cameo ware. Later still they produced a range of clear acid cut ware, typical of the glass popular in France and America in the late 20s and 30s.

The Schneiders however were dogged with troubles, in 1926 they got into a major copyright court case with Degue and probably Daum which dragged on until 1932. Also, as one of their key markets was America, they were hit hard by the Wall Street Crash in 1929. Sadly their factory doors closed in 1931. A little more Schneider glass was produced for a few years by Schneider staff in other factories, but they finally went bankrupt in 1938. After the war the next generation of Schnieder reset up a relatively sort lived glass works.

There are four main Schneider signatures ‘Schneider’, ‘Le Verre Francais’, ‘Charder’ and a small tricolour candy cane that was briefly used after the end of the First World War.

Within art glass collecting Schneider glass is one of the big new growth areas. Interestingly Schneider is, with Legras, amongst the most popular French glass houses collected in France.

We specialise in the full range of Art Nouveau & Art Deco pre WWII Schneider. To see our selection of Schneider Glass use the menu at the top left or click Schneider.

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(Best Reference: ‘Legras Verrier’, Michel, Fouchet & Vitrat(French Language))

Auguste Legras, an already experienced glass maker, took over the St Denis glassworks in 1864. Legras produced a massive amount of glass in many commercial types and styles and the company was very successful. It was profitable enough that the family took over the established Pantin glassworks in 1897.

Somewhere around 1900, possibly at the great Paris Exhibition, Legras discovered Emile Galle, and Legras decided to seriously concentrate on producing art nouveau style glass, both Cameos like Galle and a wide range of other techniques.

In 1909 Auguste retired and the company was taken over by his son Charles, who quickly started to focus on the early scent bottles being designed by Rene Lalique for Coty, getting a contract to produce some early ones before Rene Lalique was fully geared up to produce them. Like most French Glass makers the Legras works closed between 1914 and 1919. After 1919 they quickly identified the need to move to Art Deco style production.

Legras produced quite a range of different and original art glass. However a significant part of their production followed the styles of Galle, Daum, Moser, Rene Lalique, Schneider etc.

Sometime in the late 1920 Legras’s production of art glass effectively ceased.

There are many Legras signatures ‘Legras’, ‘Monte Joye’, ‘St Denis’, ‘Sargel’, ‘Indiana’ and ‘Leg’. Although many Legras signatures are in cameo or heavily enamelled, often the signatures were painted in gold on the base of the item and are now often unreadable or completely worn off.

Within art glass collecting Legras glass is a big new growth area. Strangely it is much more popular in France and the USA than in the UK.

We specialise in the full range of Art nouveau and Art Deco Legras. To see our selection of Legras Glass use the menu at the top left or click Legras.

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Marcel Goupy and other Great French Glass Makers

(Best reference: Le Genie Verrier De L'Europe, by Giuseppe Cappa).

We have French Glass from other major art nouveau and art deco glass makers such as Andre Hunebelle. Additionally we have a variety of enamelled glass from some of the great French glass enamellers such as Marcel Goupy, Quenvit & Delvaux. Click Other French Glass to see what we have in stock.

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(Best Reference: ‘Moser 1857 1997’, Jan Mergl & Lenka Pankova (English and Czech Language))(Best Museum Collection: Moser Factory Museum, Kalory Vary. Czech Republic.)

Ludwig Moser first opened his glass factory in 1857 (in Karlsbad, renamed Karlory Vary in 1937) and by 1880 he had sold glassware to all the royal families in Europe (hence he is often referred to as the King of Glass). This feat was much helped by the fact that Karlsbad was 'the' spar town for the very rich with gastric problem -so all the European royals came to him.

The Moser family were exceptionally clever at making sure their factory kept up to date with the latest fashions and styles. During the art nouveau or jugendstil period they produced fine coloured intaglio cut glass pieces (eckentiefgravur). They were used by many designers for the secessionist movement and the later Wiener Werkstatte, making deep coloured faceted pieces. Art deco glass too was covered with pieces surrounded with gold bands and Grecian freezes (oroplastique). As technology allowed more striking colours to be developed Moser again stayed ahead of the pack with an amazing range of colours, (rare earths). These colours were often photo-chromic meaning they changed colour in different lights.

The Moser family fled to America just before the Germans invaded in 1937. Surprisingly the factory continued to design and produced some great glass and even managed to keep its name (even though they were officially the State glass works of Germany and later Czechoslovakia).

Within the realm of Art glass, Moser glass had been seriously underrated over the last few years however interest is beginning to spiral and it is our personal big tip for the future investor.

We specialise in all kinds of Art Nouveau & Art Deco Moser: the early intaglio cuts, Wiener Werkstatte pieces, oroplastique glass and the rare earths. Moser used many signatures over the years, the one to avoid is the frosted signature MOSER with the R extended back to closely underline the signature -this is a modern signature often passed off as old. To see our selection of Moser Glass use the menu at the top left or click Moser.

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Loetz, Kralik & Rindskopf Glass

(Best references: www.loetz.com and www.kralik-glass.com many discoveries in this areas are so new only the websites can keep up with the changes )

Loetz was a major bohemian glass house in the all powerful Austro-Hungarian empire in the late 1800s and like many major glass houses, they searched high and low for a new look for their glass for the new century. Loetz noted both the potential of the amazing iridised glass being made by Louis Tiffany and the amazing shapes and forms being favoured by the new European Art Nouveau movement. They managed to combine these two styles to magnificent effect. They produced a very wide selection of iridised finishes and organic shaped Art Nouveau glass, becoming highly acclaimed and very successful. They generated over 50 new finishes in only about 5 years. However in the years coming up to the First World War they realised that this lucrative fantasy art nouveau style was clearly going out of fashion and they had to change their style. They took a classic approach, common to the great glass houses; they looked to the great designers at the time and let them design the future. Quite how this worked was unique as this approach ranged from Loetz commissioning major designers to make glass that Loetz could then sell, to the great designers commissioning Loetz to make their designs for the designers to sell themselves. As with France there was a considerable number fashion changes in ‘between the wars’ glass, Loetz tried hard to keep up with the thirst for new looks. They even went back and revived their nouveau styles in an early attempt at ‘retro nouveau’. In the 1920s the significant advancement in techniques meant Loetz actually managed to produce some of the greatest looking ‘Art Nouveau’ glass 10-20 years after it had started. Alas as with so many great glass makers, in the aftermath of the Wall Street crash and the American (a key market for Loetz) Depression, the last Loetz factory closed in the 1930s.

Kralik and Rindskopf were two other entrepreneurial bohemian glass houses in the late 1800s, they both saw what Loetz was doing and decided to follow their style. Unlike many other occasions when companies jumped on the bandwagon to copy a ‘leader’s style, they were still seriously creative. Kralik and Rindskopf went through a brief period of amazing innovation producing, along with Loetz, a body of Jugendstil glass that is almost unique in the history of glass. Amazing shapes, finishes, designs and forms were created, all the skills of glass makers were stretched to the limit. This was the last period where factories were dependent on the dexterity and fine skills of their master glass makers. It’s not a coincidence that this is the last time factory produced glass was often literally covered in the hand used tool marks of the glass makers - later on machines would do this work. This was the end of an era and it went out to great effect.

Interestingly the only time since then that such styles and innovation has been seen in glass is in the recent British movement of small art glass studio makers in the last 10-15 years.

The market for this type of glass has been equally dramatic, 20 years ago the mantra was ‘if it’s Loetz it’s expensive’ any other glass was considered unimportant. However quite recently diligent researchers managed to discover that much of the finest looking ‘Loetz’ glass, from that period, commanding major prices wasn’t Loetz at all. It was in fact Kralik or Rindskopf, or a small number of other such makers. Prices of Loetz and Loetz look-alikes dropped and there was some considerable confusion in the market. Today things have settled down and Loetz remains very collectable, but it has never reached the heights of its peak. Meanwhile the finest pieces of Kralik and Rindskopf are still very affordable and really beginning to seriously take off.

We have available a very wide range or art nouveau Loetz, Kralik, and Rindskopf. Click Loetz, Kralik and Rindskopf to see what we have available from each of these fine makers.

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(Best Reference: ‘300 let Harrachovskeho skla’, Jan Mergl & others (Czech Language only so far) 2012).
(Best Museum Collection: U(P)M Prague Museum, and Harrach Factory Museum. Czech Republic.)

Harrach has been the backbone of Bohemian, and possibly European, glass for the last 300 years. It proudly celebrates its tri-centenary in 2012. Before Ludwig Moser was allowed to have his own Glassworks he, like almost everyone else in the region, bought his blanks from Harrach. In fact we will probably never know how much glass, supposedly made my other great glass makers of Europe, were in fact made and finished in the Harrach Glassworks. We do know that vast ranges of Legras was made by Harrach, probably under licence and possibly the majority of the glass we think of as Fratelli Tosso was also made by Harrach. British Glass historians have only just started to review 19th century English glass and reallocate many of the high points to Harrach. Sadly neglected over the years, Harrach made some of the greatest glass of the 19th and 20th century. Much of their production has, not surprisingly, been often been wrongly attributed. To see our wide section of Harrach glass click Here.

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(Best Reference: None seen)
(Best Museum Collection: Regional Museums in Area.)

Riedel was based in the centre of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in present day geography their works was in Polaun near Liberec, just inside the Czech Republic a few miles south of the Polish Border close to Harrach.
They were experts in producing amazing glass colours, using bright reds and blues and a rainbow of lithyalin colours (lithyalin is opaque glass made to look like stone, traditionally is was brown, but Riedel pioneered in making it in yellows, greens and a variety of other hues). Very few glass houses could get even close to their colour range and these colours were widely bough by houses like Loetz. Additionally they were suitably equipped to make the very unusually shaped geometric vessels. Combined with their enamelling they produced possible the most classic Secessionist style glass.
Today Riedel still exists, after a long period specialising in pressed glass, they now are based in Austria and make amazing and innovative stemware. To see our section of Riedel glass click Here.

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(Best Reference: ‘Josephine Glass Works Vol 2 1900-1950’, Stefania Zelasko (English and German Language) 2011).
(Best Museum Collection: Passau Germany.)

Josephinenhütte were based in what was then Silesia, formally in Germany the area is now in Poland. However it was only a short drive from Harrach and Riedel. After Northern Bohemia and North-West France, Southern Silesia was Europe’s third biggest glass producing area. A bit like Harrach, Josephinenhütte were ‘the’ great makers of glass blanks (undecorated vessels) for German glass. Many other great glass houses either did not make their own glass or could not make enough, so they bought-in blanks to decorate and finish, selling them as their own. Josephinenhütte was capable of making large numbers of high quality vessels in a wide variety of shapes and forms, employing the latest mould technology. They were also quite capable of finishing their own high quality products themselves and copying their customers’ or any other new fashionable styles. Josephinenhutte employed some of the greatest designers of the time to lead their artistic direction. Perhaps most importantly was the Pfohl family with Alexander one of the all time great designers and his younger brother Edwin who created some wonderfully strange pieces. To see our small section of Josephinenhutte glass click Here -more to come soon.

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Fritz Heckert

(Best Reference: ‘Fritz Heckert 1866-1923 ’, Stefania Zelasko (German Language only so far) 2012).
(Best Museum Collection: Passau Germany.)

Fritz Heckert was a high quality glass finishing house in Petersdorf close to Josephinehutte. They decorated blanks from both Harrach and Jossephinenhutte. Strangely only when their decoration was enamelling were their pieces signed. However it has recently been discovered that they made a much wider range of unsigned glass other than just their enamelware. In around 1886 they opened their own glass making works and by 1900 Fritz Heckert under the leadership of Otto Thamm was making an incredible range of metal clad, irridised, and cameo glass. Fritz Heckert now must stand amongst the very best makers of Art Nouveau glass in the world. Sadly Otto Thamm, son in law to Fritz Heckert, died in 1905. By 1923 the Heckert works were absorbed into Josephinenhutte. To see our small section of Fritz Heckert glass click Here -more to come soon.

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The Other Great Glass Makers -British

(Best reference: '20th Century British Glass' by Charles Hajdamach).

On our new sister website we have an extensive collection of rare British enamel glass from Stuart and Webb Corbett click Here. Also on this site we have a range of art nouveau and art deco glass from major British makers such as Jobling Cick Here and Monart, & Vasart. Click Here. For other major British glass makers click Here.

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L C Tiffany

(Best reference: ‘Louis C. Tiffany Glass-Bronzes-Lamps’ by Robert Koch)

Louis Comfort Tiffany was the son of the founder of the famed Fifth Avenue 'Tiffany and Company'. He worked there from the 1880s until his death in 1933. He was he first person to produce high quality iridised decorative glassware. He is perhaps most famous for his lamps, but alas the few remaining ones reside only in museums and the houses of the rich and famous. Tiffany called his art nouveau glass 'Favrile' (an Americanisation of the German 'fabrile' meaning hand-made). He also made a wide range of bronze desk pieces, lamps and even ceramic items.

Tiffany Favrile Glass was produced between 1892 and 1928. Pieces are usually signed (often just 'L.C.T.' or 'L C Tiffany Favrile' and sometimes with individual numbers). L C Tiffany desk items were made between 1898 and 1918. They are almost always signed 'Tiffany Studios New York' with either an individual or catalogue number.

Tiffany favrile remains one of the great art glass collectables. Even though good pieces are hard to find this side of the Atlantic, we usually have an excelent range of L C Tiffany. To see our selection of L C Tiffany Glass use the menu at the top left or click L C tiffany.

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Other Great Glass Makers

(Best reference: Glas Der Moderne 1880-1930, Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin Edited by Ars Nicolai.

We have some Art Nouveau glass & Art Deco glass from Bohemia and Germany Pallme Koenig, Meyr's Neffe, Goldberg, Haida, Hlousek and Thereseinthal. Also VEDAR from Italy. Click Other Great Glass Makers to see what we have available.

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