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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