Sunday, October 23, 2011

Claire Lerner Stylized Bird Vase, 1950

Just came across this beautiful piece of California pottery produced by Claire Lerner in 1950. Very nice dark gray color vase with black accents depicts a bird amidst flowing, leafy plants.

This Claire Lerner Studios pottery vase is marked on the bottom with her distinctively stylized, "Calif", the date, 1950, written as "19©50", and the item number, "CL 228".

This is our first encounter with a Claire Lerner piece, and we were captivated immediately. Without even knowing anything about its creator, we could see that it was done by a very skilled and talented artist.

From the small amount of  research we have done so far, we have discovered that Claire Lerner Studios was based in Los Angeles and only produced items from the late 1940s to the mid 1950s. That very short production period contributes to the rarity of Claire Lerner items.

The pieces we have seen are beautifully free-form and organic.

The vase we have here displays Lerner's wonderful use of playful, organic shapes. The gracefulness captured in the the bird's form keeps the eye moving around it. The lines all visually connecting to each other create a loop shape from the head and beak, to wing and down around the body.

Plants dance their way up the sides of the vase and cap the rim with the curve of their leaves. Lerner then, as a balanced counterpart to the plants positive space, forms the same smooth curves with the negative space. Effortlessly transporting your gaze from one plant to the next.

Around the base, Lerner softly blends plant leaves, at a larger scale than the rest, to create a stage for the entire scene. A less skilled artist may have created a rock or simple line, but here, we see how Lerner's talent softens and balances what could easily have become over-weighted and out of scale.

We will definitely be watching for more Claire Lerner Studios pieces.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Monumental Mid-Century Glass Table Lamp

We recently found this amazing, mid-century, glass table lamp with gold and silver painted cityscape. It is truly monumental in size, standing nearly 48" (four feet) tall. The lampshade rests on top of the glass shade and is topped by a 3" finial.

The lamp body is glass, colored light blue/green. Around the body, painted in thick silver and gold, is a wonderfully stylized scene depicting an idyllic city block. We are shown the beautiful Palace theater, a church, bank, highrise apartment and several other dwellings. Above all of these, the sun shines down from a cloudless sky.

Given the size, the glass shade and the style of the art, this lamp feels very late 1950s or early 1960s.

Unfortunately there are no markings to tell us who made this lamp or where it is from. It does have a look very reminiscent of some Rembrandt Lamps. But a close comparison of the glass shade, the shade base and the number of screws doesn't really match Rembrandt Lamps.

The closet item we could find anywhere else was this pair of Asian motif eglomise lamps, from the shop of Matt Murphy Studio, on

Courtesy of Matt Murphy Studio & 1stdibs

Looking at the shape of the lamp, the base and the vase cap, the style is exactly the same as ours. And, the height of these lamps, with the shade, is 47". Almost exactly the same as our lamp.

If anyone has any thoughts on the maker of our lamp, please let us know.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Hazel Atlas "Gay-Bar" Shaker Set

1950's Hazel Atlas cocktail shaker set in a gay '90's pattern. The set is called "Gay-Bar" and features a cartoon style, old-timey bar scene. Surronding the shaker are six classic drink recipes. This set includes shaker and top, 5 cocktail and 3 hi-ball glasses (or "shorties" and "longies" as the set called them.)

Inside this "Gay-Bar" a bartender dutifully attends to his customers. At one end of the bar is a lady with a parisol; a dog, seemingly attacking a flea, at her feet. At the other end of the bar, a daper man, complete with bowler hat and cane, keeps the requisite cuspidor close by.

Drink recipes on the shaker show you how to make a Whiskey Sour, a Bacardi, a Bronx, an Alexander, a Daiquiri, a Dubonnet, and a Side Car.

"Side Car"
1/3 Lemon Juice
1/3 Cointreau
1/3 Brandy
Shake well with ice.
Strain and serve.

This drink set was produced in the 1950's by Atlasware (Hazel Atlas) and distributed by Gailstyn. The shaker is marked with the distinctive Hazel Atlas H over A logo.

Orignally a 14-pc. set, 1 "shortie" and 3 "longies" have been lost to posterity.

Condition is absolutely wonderful. The graphics have no wear or loss and the glassware no chips or cracks. One of the cocktail glasses has a "dip" in the lip that is smooth and appears to be a manufacturers flaw. Some of the registration on the graphics is a bit off, but that is to be expected of mass produced items.

Available on our Etsy shop:
Hazel Atlas "Gay-Bar" Shaker Set, 10-pc.

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Continental Art Company Plaster Lamps - Pair of Nude Dancers with Capes

Pair of dancing nudes, male and female, with capes. Captured as if in mid-leap. Gracefully rendered. The dancers sensually curve as they effortlessly float through the air towards each other.

This gorgeous pair of plaster, figural lamps is from Continental Art, Co. The lamps are marked on the base, "Continental Art, Co. 1952." One of the lamps still has its paper sticker on it.

The lamp design was created by John W. Lindner of Milwaukee, WI. We located the design patent application, D167,046, filed on February 14, 1952.

From the muscle definition on the figures, down to the golden, laced, sandals, Lindner's design captures the dancers in beautiful detail.

An upcoming auction values two identical lamps, with shades, at between $750 - $1,400.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Rosenthal-Netter Italian Ceramic Bowl

What an awesome find!!

We just ran across this amazing, mid-centrury, Italian ceramic bowl, and it turns out it is a Rosenthal-Netter commissioned bowl from the early '60's. Not sure if it was made for Rosenthal-Netter by Bitossi or a different Italian ceramics firm from that time period.

On the bottom, the bowl is marked, "Italy" with a stylized "T" that crosses over most of the word. There is also a marking of "49/6B". The bowl does not have the original Rosenthal-Netter sticker on it, but we have seen the same style bowl, with the same stylized "Italy" and "49/6B", and a vase of the same pattern, both with the "Created in Italy for Rosenthal-Netter, Inc." tag. Based on what we have seen, we are confident that this is indeed a Rosenthal-Netter piece.

Italian ceramics from the '50's and '60's are, at times, difficult, if not impossible, to identify correctly without the labels. Even with the labels, the maker or designer of a piece may not be stated.

There does seem to be some confusion, though, about Rosenthal-Netter, another company called Raymor, and Italian pottery from the '50's and '60's. Many people think that Rosenthal-Netter and Raymor created ceramic pieces. They did not. They were US importers of Italian ceramic items.

Both Rosenthal-Netter and Raymor imported pieces from Bitossi and other Italian ceramics makers. In addition to commissioning some special pieces, they also bid for stock pieces. Because of this, some pieces imported by Rosenthal-Netter can look very similar to pieces imported by Raymor.

Another area of confusion is with the Italian makers themselves, notably, Bitossi.

Often times people refer to Bitossi as a designer, but Bitossi was a manufacturer of ceramics. The head designer at Bitossi during the '50's and '60's was Aldo Londi. Of course, not all Bitossi pieces were designed by Aldo Londi so a Bitossi piece may not be an Aldo Londi piece.

Confusing? You bet.

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Stunning, 1940's, Art Deco Styled, Manning-Bowman Chrome Coffee Set

Amazing, art deco style, chrome coffee serving set, ca. 1940's, from Manning-Bowman. Percolator coffee server holds 12 cups and has beautiful curved-top wooden handles, curved wood feet and four sets of ribbed rings. The pour spout handle has the same curved wood shape as the side handles. The cream and sugar feature half-circle wood handles and matching ribbed rings at the base. Long chrome tray has sleek curved wood handles for carrying and wood, bun feet.

This is a standout set that would look wonderful in any art deco collection.

This coffee set is manufactured by Manning-Bowman. Manning-Bowman made many different styles of coffee makers and other home appliances. The '30's, '40's and '50's were pretty much their heyday. We've seen many of their ads in old Life magazines.

The percolator has a new cord, and it works. We tried it out with just water, no coffee, and it started to "perc" in less than a minute.

This set is in wonderful vintage condition. There is some pitting on the outside of the percolator, but hardly noticeable. There are some light scratches on the tray where the pieces rest, but nothing deep. Cream and sugar look almost brand new. There are no cracks in any of the wood.

Available on our Etsy site:

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Poppytrail by Metlox "California Apple" Pitcher & Bowl


Found this wonderful ceramic pitcher and serving bowl in the "California Apple" pattern from Poppytrail by Metlox. Each piece features a motif with two apples hanging from a branch. The handle of the pitcher is cleverly shaped like the branch of the tree.

The "California Apple" pattern is from 1949.

Available on our Etsy shop:
Serving Bowl

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More about Metlox Pottery is available on our "More About ..." page.

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