Durand Art Glass

Durand Art Glass

Durand Art Glass was produced for seven brief years (1924 to 1931) in Vineland, New Jersey, by Victor Durand Jr, a French immigrant who owned and operated the successful Vineland Flint Glass Works which produced various lines of commercial wares. The Flint works had been founded with Durand’s father in 1897. A man with foresight and ingenuity, Durand Jr. was the first to produce a thermos bottle in this country along with a variety of scientific glassware. He also became world famous for producing some of the first X-ray tubes. Yet it is primarily for his beautiful art glass that he is remembered and celebrated today.

Durand began his art glass project by bringing Martin Bach, Jr. from the Imperial Glass Company of Bellaire, Ohio to direct work at the “Fancy Shop”. He then recruited former glass workers from the recently closed Quezal Art Glass works to produce the new artistic designs. Emil J. Larson, a master glassblower, was the foreman at the shop and directed the team of artisans.

Of great importance was free rein given these glassmakers to experiment and create their own individual works of art. Durand did not make a profit on this fancy glass, but it did give him personal satisfaction. Because, in part, of this wide artistic latitude, Durand art glass was produced in a very wide variety of glass types and forms, including covered jars, bowls, vases, perfumes, powder boxes, lamps, rose bowls, finger bowls, wines, goblets, candlesticks, salad plates, whimsies — and in a variety of decorative treatments. Many of the pieces were blown utilizing an unusual shiny yellow glass which the workers called “oil glass.” This glass was used either as a primary glass or in combination with other glass colors. Most collectors utilize the term “Ambergris” to refer to this type of glass.

The quality of the company’s art glass was quickly recognized, and, in 1926, Durand art glass was awarded a medal of honor at the Sesquicentennial International Exposition in Philadelphia.

Production at the “Fancy Shop” ceased in 1931 following Victor Durand’s death in an automobile accident. Production of “powder” glass, similar in appearance to Steuben’s Cluthra Glass, was continued for about another year. It came to be known as Kimble Cluthra as Colonel Evan E. Kimble took over the glass factory after Victor Durand’s death.

Much of Durand glass is unsigned as there were no fixed rules governing the marking of the art wares. When works were signed they usually followed one of three patterns: DURAND in script over a “V”, a script DURAND without the “V”, and Durand in cursive script. Signatures were written over the pontil with an aluminum pencil, producing a silver finish. On some pieces the catalogue shape number appears under the lower left of the V, and the height in inches appears under the lower right of the V. In rare cases a paper label may remain on the piece.

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