Published: May 10, 2011
Mount Washington and Pairpoint glass, which rivaled Tiffany and Steuben in its heyday during the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, will be the focus of a major exhibition at the Corning Museum of Glass. The exhibit will highlight the changing taste of America’s elite through a broad range of products designed by one of the country’s longest-running art glass companies.
On view May 19⁄ecember 31, “Mount Washington and Pairpoint Glass: From the Gilded Age to the Roaring Twenties” will introduce audiences to these important players in American art glass history “Although the companies pioneered a range of novel and creative glass styles that experimented with texture, decoration, pattern and color, they have not garnered the same level of recognition as their contemporaries,” said Jane Shadel Spillman, curator of American glass. “Through more than 150 objects, this exhibition will showcase the companies’ role as purveyors of innovative luxury items in a period of exuberant growth and prosperity in the United States.”
The exhibition focuses primarily on four specific categories of the companies’ distinctive output from the years 1880‱930. Characterized by innovation in style and technique, Mount Washington art glass was highly successful commercially and helped cement the company as a leader in American art glass.
Although not a hallmark of the company, Mount Washington’s elaborate cut glass was fashionable during this period.
Mount Washington’s lighting business, including gas chandeliers, decorated art glass and cut glass kerosene lamps, was central to its success in the late Nineteenth Century. With the invention of the light bulb and the rise of electricity, Pairpoint’s new and visually striking electroliers became popular showcases for electric lighting and remained so for nearly 30 years.
In the decade prior to the Great Depression, Pairpoint expanded its market offerings with highly decorative tableware and lighting made of both colored and colorless transparent glass.
The Corning Museum of Glass is located directly off I-86/Route 17, midway between Niagara Falls and New York City. For information, 607-438-5273 or www.cmog.org .
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