Posting Number 3626 Date: 01/12/22 Return to Posting List
A Tribute to Greg Merkel
You all have now heard that our Association lost Greg Merkel quite suddenly and unexpectedly late last week. Greg was an integral part of our organization. He was "the Science Guy." Every other year at the Symposium he would provide an enthralling, remarkable, head-scratching and sometimes head-spinning presentation on Carder Steuben color or other science topic. He LOVED Carder Steuben and he loved talking about it. So he was always up for any opportunity to be an expert for an identification clinic, be a "docent" in the Carder Gallery during a Club cocktail party, or participate in Show and Tell on a Zoom call in addition to his fantastic presentations. His loss is deeply felt. Some photos from past events: Bonnie Salzman
I spotted this amethyst comport in my eBay saved searches this morning. The sellers attribute it to Steuben, in part due to the engraved signature of Frederick Carder on the piece. (More on this below.) Carder was the founder and creative head of Steuben until 1933, after which he stayed on in an "emeritus" status, and made glass in a studio type setting there.
After I browsed the seller's terrible photos, and honed in on Photo #9, I began to have my doubts. Just to make sure, I browsed all 524 Steuben compotes on the Carder Steuben Club's shape gallery. No matches.
The bowl shape, which makes it all but useless, seemed familiar. Then I thought, hmm, maybe Sinclaire? I browsed the "Color Book" shape sketches for comports on page 108 of H.P. Sinclaire Jr., Glassmaker - Volume 2 book; no matches. Just for good measure, I browsed the "Flint Book" [crystal] shape sketches on pages 83-85. One shape was sort of similar, but it wasn't right.
Then I suddenly remembered a comport that Elegant Glass Club member Carol Murphy and her late husband Joe had found years and years ago. It frustrated me endlessly because I could not figure out who made it. It had a canary yellow vaseline-like color, and rang like a bell when tapped. I checked the picture (attached), and it matches the amethyst comport in the auction! Then as I browsed my pictures, I saw that I had a photo of the same comport in black (maybe from an auction I spotted on eBay?), which the seller had attributed to Pairpoint. So I reached for my copy of The Essence of Pairpoint by Marion & Sandra Frost. I didn't have to go far -- a comport of the same shape with a grape cutting, in a dark amber, was on the front of the dust jacket! See attached photograph of the book cover, back right.
As for the engraved F. Carder signature on the amethyst comport, it's obviously a fake, but only because it was done on a piece of Pairpoint. Frederick Carder tended to sign only his best work, of which he was most proud. However, in his late years, people would bring him more ordinary Steuben glass, and he would obligingly engrave his signature on them, using an engraving tool, in a manner very similar to the fake signature on this comport.
Enjoy your rainy day, and see what you can find online to admire, buy, or research!
Click to view image one: Greg Merkel.jpeg
Click to view image two: Greg Merkel.1.jpeg
Click to view image three: Greg Merkel.2.jpeg
Click to view image four: Comport.jpeg
Click to view image five: Comport.1.jpeg
Click to view image six: Comport.2.jpeg
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