Membership In The Carder Steuben Club Includes Membership in CMoG|
Posting Number 3364 Date: 02/27/20 Return to Posting List
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A lampshade at the right price&.my Steuben memories by Jenny Monroe
The 80s and 90s were heady times as we saw the popularity for Carder Steuben rise. Bob and Tom were leaders behind this movement. Glass artists as well began to come to Corning and wonder how did Carder do that? The Studio Glass Movement was in full force and many of the techniques that early Steuben gaffers had achieved were being revived. A reprint of the Gardner book and a subsequent volume by published by Schiffer and the Rockwell Museum offered line drawings and photos to supplement the Gardner bible. The Friends of Carder published Collectors Choice papers.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my decades with Bob and Hertha was visiting their friends around the country with trips I organized for museum members and docents. We visited Seattle to see Dick Bright and he, as a travel agent, helped me put together an itinerary for England to show Hertha the Portland Vase as Bob requested, visit Antony and Caroline Snow, find the Wordsley School of Art building and trace as many of Carders early digs as we could. Paul Gardner gave us a tour of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. - that he had just finished consulting on - and we had brunch at the home of our Congressional Representative, Amory Houghton and his wife Priscilla in Georgetown.
When Houston collectors, Mary Elizabeth and Frank Reifschlager passed away in 1981, their collections of Steuben and many Tiffany pieces were bequeathed to the Rockwell Museum. The Reifschlager Gallery housed premiere examples of Carder Steuben by type in some 20 cases (with storage for hundreds more pieces below) that were recycled from a travelling exhibit of glass from CMoG. These were the stunning picture postcard-style photos that have been featured recently in the Gazelle Gazette.
One special friend of Bobs who never came to Corning was Clara S. Peck of New York City. She was a recluse who lived in apartments at the Hotel Pierre overlooking Central Park. Her father had been the partner of F.W. Woolworth and she was a very wealthy woman who had never married. She loved horses and had been raised in Kentucky bluegrass country. When rare book dealer, Jack Bartfield, of JN Bartfield Galleries, W. 55th St., acquired a deluxe 1910 Little Brown edition of The Complete Works of Francis Parkman (American explorer-historian) in which volumes 19 and 20 (The Oregon Trail) included 48 original watercolor paintings by Charles M. Russell, he contacted Miss Peck. The artist had extra-illustrated these two volumes as a surprise for one of his California patrons, Frank Armstrong. When Miss Peck saw the Russell illustrations, she slipped volumes 19 and 20 under her arm and indicated to Bartfield to deliver the other 19 volumes to her apartments at the Pierre.
Years later after Jack had befriended Bob Rockwell in his quest to build a collection of western art, he mentioned about Miss Peck and the books. Since Russell was Bobs favorite artist, Bob had to see them. A meeting at the Pierre was arranged, and that began the friendship between two art collectors and horse lovers. Bob would occasionally visit Miss Peck and take her miniature stuffed animals. When she died in 1983, Bob and the Museum trustees were overwhelmed with a bequest from her estate of 29 paintings, the extra-illustrated Parkman volumes and a quarter of the residuary of her estate. These funds have been used ever since for the acquisition of collections. Another bequest from her estate came to Corning to benefit the Corning Museum of Glass.
Over the years, Steve and I felt as though wed been adopted by Bob and Hertha (as Im sure many others did too) and had the chance to travel with them to their Colorado ranch and visit many cities all over the country that had western art collections. Locally, my association with Bob and the museum lead me to friendships with Kitty and Max Ehrlacher, who invited the Steuben Symposium guests to their home and engraving studio one beautiful September day. One of my fondest memories is when after a Carder dinner, Tom and Peetie Dimitroff invited everyone over to their beautiful Queen Ann home for drinks and we all sat on the front porch and reminisced about just how lucky we all were to live in the Crystal City. To be surrounded by so much magnificent architecture, glass history and such generous friends -- and for me, it was because of Bob.
Note about the author: Jenny Monroe was employed by the Rockwell Museum from 1976 to 1999. She supervised education and public programs.
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