Sabino Art Glass

A pair of Sabino glass Berry and Leaf pattern scent bottles with molded stoppers, French, early 20th century

p4A ItemID E8870108
A group of four Sabino art deco frosted glass sconces

p4A ItemID E8856570
Pair of Sabino Art Glass Table Lamps, French, ca. 1920's-1930's, frosted glass illuminated base and shade, decorated with streaks of teal, coral, and yellow

p4A ItemID F7977863
Sabino art glass vase, opalescent body with surrounding draped female figures

p4A ItemID F7957581

Sabino Glass

Sabino art glass has been made in France since approximately 1920 until the present from the designs of Marius Ernest Sabino (1878 to 1961). Born a Sicilian, Sabino was trained in France as a sculptor and studied at the L’Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs and the Beaux Arts de Paris. After World War I, recognized a commerical opportunity for glass electric lighting products. In 1925, Sabino created an opalescent glass with a blue hue and iridescent impressions of either clouds in a blue sky, light striking a soap bubble or a reflection from water surface which was used in a range of opalescent glass vases and statuettes. This opalescent art glass is often characterized by sculptural qualities based in his earlier training. For his vases and plates he used natural themes, often with animals (particulaly aquatic creatures), along with friezes of women and some geometric designs. These art wares won prizes at numerous major international exhibitions between the two world wars and were retailed in Paris and exported to the United States.

Sabino’s early opalescent glass had a higher arsenic content than most of his competitors, but his glass formula was is reported to have changed after World War II to reduce this component. The earlier glass is said to feel and look different with a softer and “soapy” feel.

Early Sabino glass was marked “Sabino France” if intended for export, or “Sabino Paris” if intended for sale within France. Larger pieces still carry the “Sabino Paris” signature, which was etched onto the base of the pieces. Smaller pieces are marked “Sabino France” moulded into the side of the item. “Verart” and “Vernox” were two other trade marks used by Sabino during the 1930′s. They were developed to compete in the cheaper market for opalescent glass that had been opened up by companies like Holophane (trademark “Verlys”).

After World War II M. E. Sabino transferred operations to his nephew and adopted son Gripoix-Sabino. The elder Sabino died in 1961, by which time the company was again producing opalescent glass using the same moulds that he had designed. No new post WWII designs were created. All their output was exported to the USA. In 1978 Gripoix-Sabino sold the entire Sabino operation (moulds, factory, designs, rights and glass formulae) to the company’s American agent Richard Choucroun and his “Sabino Crystal Company”. This company has continued to produce Sabino Art Glass in France using the same moulds, the same factory, and the same processes, exporting all their output to the USA, and distributing it world-wide.

Information courtesy of James D. Julia Auctions, May 2002.

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