Friday, October 17, 2014

Photo Friday: Quezal Art Glass Shades

By Gretchen Sawatzki

Image by: Hannah Manning via Materials Unlimited

Having recently acquired a small collection of art glass shades at the shop, I couldn't help but share the beauty of this Quezal shade.  Founded in New York by Martin Bach, Sr., Nicholas Bach, Thomas Johnson, Adolph Demuth, and Lena Scholtz in 1902, the Quezal Art Glass and Decorating Company created stunning decorative glass works of art that rivaled the industry juggernauts Louis Comfort Tiffany and Frederick Carder. With their iridescent coloration, Art Nouveau organic forms, and expertly detailed decoration, Quezal shades were often purchased by lighting manufacturers including the Edward F. Caldwell Company in New York, which paired their light fixtures with Quezal shades for a one-of-a-kind stunning combination available through a catalog.

The shade shown here has the unique identifying signature of "Quezal" at the fitter - a practice generally used on one of the shades in a set. Often etched directly into the glass or written on the piece using a silvered stylus, the signature is always signed "Quezal" or "Quezal NY". Sets of art glass shades often ranged in any number from a single shade to a dozen, and most were left unsigned.  It was commonplace to mark only one shade in a set.

Quezal continued to produce art glass wares including vases and lighting shades through 1924 when a series of company transitions lead to its demise. Today, Quezal art glass shades stand as a testament to their quality and beauty, and are typically sold unsigned.  If you're lucky enough to find a signed shade, hold onto it because you never know when the next signed Quezal will come your way.

Sources: collectics.com
               pbs.org
               journalofantiques.com

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