Posting Number 3607 Date: 11/12/21 Return to Posting List
Though this news is not timely, I wanted to share with Carder Steuben Club members that my friend of 35 years, Eugene "Gene" Murray passed away in January. He was 95. Though not an author or an academic, he was an avid "Steuben Glass Ambassador."
Though the majority of our members do not live here in Southern California, those who do (or visited) probably met Gene at the monthly Glendale Antique Show, held the first Sunday of each month at the Glendale Civic Auditorium. Gene and his late partner of 58 years, George ("David") Dittmar set up at the show each month for many years in the 1980s and 1990s (and possibly before that.) Though their booth was not "stacked high," it always featured fine glass, including Steuben, Dorflinger, and other art glass. This is where I met Gene and David, who are entirely "at fault" for piquing my interest in Carder-era Steuben.
Before I met them, I was vaguely aware that Steuben made colored glass, not just crystal, but didn't have the requisite reference books or experience viewing and handling it. My natural curiosity and willingness to learn about all kinds of glass, plus Gene and David's expert tutelage, soon enabled me to recognize all sorts of Carder-era Steuben when I encountered it. Gene, in particular, also taught me about Victorian art and pattern glass. Their home was a wonderland of glass, with showcases containing examples of Mt. Washington Burmese, Libbey Amberina, Dorflinger Kalana ware, cut glass, Findlay Onyx, EAPG and art glass colored toothpick holders, shakers and cruets, and on and on. When I visited, Gene dutifully answered my questions and explained the fine points of Pomona ware, Agata, Peloton, and many other types of glass to me, enabling me to recognize such things when I encountered them.
Though Gene and David bought, sold, and collected color-era Steuben, surprisingly, they didn't have a large collection of it themselves -- though they did have some choice pieces. What they did have was about ten beautiful Steuben lamps, all of which they used to illuminate their lovely 1926 Spanish style home, furnished with art and antiques.
Gene's heirs have now consigned seven of his Steuben lamps to John Moran Auction, a local auction house that handles fine art, furnishings, and so on. The auction will be held Tuesday, November 16th. I've provided a link to the auction so that members can enjoy seeing them. One standout for me is the #8479 vase in pink with a satinized finish and an etched abstract design that almost looks Incan or Mayan, mounted as a table lamp. Is this a cataloged etching? The other is a pair of matching floor lamps with pink and green Cintra torchere shades and the acid-etched Cliffwood pattern. One just doesn't see such things very often on the open market, or even in private collections.
203 California Living
203 California Living
Los Angeles auction selling furniture, jewelry, and art from early 20th century to contemporary. Pieces to desig...
I will always treasure my friendship with Gene, and will be forever grateful for his willingness to share his knowledge about glass so freely with me. I hope that he was as happy to see this knowledge be passed on to younger people who have the same enthusiasm he had. I have tried to do the same, because I know the future of collecting and preserving glass lies with younger generations.
I would love to hear about other members' Steuben glass mentors.
Click to view image one: Eugene Murray.jpeg
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