What is Art Glass and What Makes it Valuable?
Art glass is a type of glass works that is more decorative in intent than functional intent. These works are created by individual glass artists, and/or artist assistants, using small-scale furnaces in glass studios or work environments. While contemporary art glass is known for its hand-wrought aspect and individual creativity, vintage art glass (made prior to the 1960s) can include factory-made glass artistry, produced by small teams of factory workers.
After machines began to take over the production of “utilitarian” glass items in the nineteenth century, workers had the time and ability to try their hands at more artistic creations. Hence, the “modernistic movement” that affected art in general, also affected art glass-making. Art schools and institutes around the world began introducing glass-making courses with an emphasis on the “fine art aspects” of creating art glass, which became a trend.
Companies like Lalique, Daum, Galle, Royal Leerdam Crystal and Kosta Boda in Europe, Tiffany’s and Steuben’s in the USA, and Hoya Crystal in Japan became renowned for their art glass production. Murano in Italy, with its long tradition of experimentation in glass, remained in the forefront and is generally considered the birthplace of the modern art glass movement, having inspired artists from around the world.
Glass artistry on a more individual level, however, didn’t come about until the 1960s, with the studio glass movement taking off in the USA. American artists like Harvey Littleton, Dominic Labino, Marvin Lipofsky, Bill Boysen and Dale Chihuly created one-of-a-kind glass works using many different and novel techniques, and initiated glass programs at various US universities. The art glass studio movement then went international, and now many countries have societies, competitions and even grants to encourage upcoming, aspiring glass artists and facilitate an exchange of ideas and methods.
Some of the main art glass making methods include glass-blowing, casting and fusing glass, free form glass-making, lampworking glass and pattern-molding glass. The different types of glass include stained glass, painted glass, etched glass, beveled glass, fusion glass, blown glass, leaded glass and cut glass.
Noted for their elegant forms, vivid colors and rich textures, fine art glass works cover a wide spectra of items. Creations include vases, jars, pitchers and bowls, decanters, goblets, cups and dishes, wine glasses and bottles, candle holders, beads, jewelry, figurines, sculptures, glass panels, mosaics, bricks, tiles and much more. These art glass items made great additions to the home. Prices, depending on artist and complexity of design and make, vary from the affordable to the unbelievably expensive. From a few hundred dollars to several hundreds of thousands of dollars there is a price range for nearly any collector or investor. If you have art glass and wish to know the value, make sure to contact us with questions, we are happy to help.