Vase with Dolphins and Flowers

Copied Vase with Dolphins and Flowers, ca. 1880s-1890s, blown and applied hot-worked glass, 20 12 × 8 18 in. (52.1 × 20.6 cm) diam., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.8.469.1
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Artwork Details

Vase with Dolphins and Flowers
Compagnia di Venezia e Murano (CVM)
ca. 1880s-1890s
Not on view
20 12 × 8 18 in. (52.1 × 20.6 cm) diam.
Credit Line
Gift of John Gellatly
Mediums Description
blown and applied hot-worked glass
  • Object — other — vase
Object Number

Artwork Description

This tall vase showcases many glassmaking techniques and decorative features admired by American tourists in the late nineteenth century. Its trumpetlike form suggests the action of glassblowing, with the artist's breath extending molten material into an elegant, fluted cone. A trio of dolphins and chrysanthemums rings the stem, each meticulously constructed, attached, and shaped over an open flame. Flowers and sea creatures were favorite decorative elements in Venetian glassware of the seventeenth century, when the island city reigned as Queen of the Adriatic with a strong navy and trading empire.

By replicating complicated and fragile historical designs on a large scale, the creator of this vase declares that a new generation of glassmakers is determined to revive Venice's signature craft tradition, matching and perhaps surpassing earlier success. Their creations soon caught the eyes of American collectors.

Sargent, Whistler, and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano, 2021.