Ringing in the New Year with Venetian Glass Goblets: “Auld Lang Syne” Edition

Take a closer look at four fabulous glasses to inspire a virtual celebratory toast to 2022

Media - 1929.8.469.2 - SAAM-1929.8.469.2_3 - 140817

Attributed to Vittorio Zanetti, Fish and Eel Vase, 1884, oil on canvas, blown and applied hot-worked glass, 12 x 4 1/4 x 5 1/4 in., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.8.469.2

Who else was ready to be released from 2021? Was the New York Times Square ball drop at midnight a sight for sore eyes? Couldn’t toast fast enough to a new year? I felt exactly the same way (good riddance 2021!). Here at SAAM, we have several options in our decorative arts collection for you to consider for a virtual toast to feel extra special, no matter if champagne or apple cider to move into 2022.

In our current exhibition, Sargent, Whistler and Venetian Glass: American Artists and the Magic of Murano, there are so many gorgeous glassware options! Four incredible examples on display in the galleries were all gifts to the museum from John Gellatly, who gave his extensive collection of paintings and decorative arts to the museum in 1929. In his appreciation of this fish and eel vase, exhibition curator Alex Mann writes: “Here the rainbow-striated fish leaps upward, supported by an open-mouthed green eel and a base of glass shells and curling waves. The complexity and whimsy of such designs surprised and delighted viewers, despite their potential impracticality.”

Media - 1929.8.469.7 - SAAM-1929.8.469.7_2 - 140940

Attributed to Giuseppe Barovier or Benvenuto Barovier, Conical Goblet with Entwined Serpents Stem, ca. 1880s, blown and applied hot-worked glass, 12 3/8 x 6 3/8 in. diam., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.8.469.7

Not keen on fish? What about serpents? Here’s a conical goblet with entwined serpents on its stem. Melody Barnett Deusner writes in the exhibition catalogue “the delicate undulations of the lip of such an ‘exquisite fragile Venetian bauble’ would render it more effective as a glass sculpture than as a functional drinking glass.”

Media - 1929.8.469.9 - SAAM-1929.8.469.9_2 - 140944

Attributed to Ercole Barovier or Nicolò Barovier, Mosaic Glass Goblet, ca. 1914-28, blown and applied hot-worked glass, with mosaic glass inclusions, 6 5/8 x 3 1/4 in. diam., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.8.469.9

If you prefer something more floral, take a look at the green rosettes and white flowers in the style of mosaics that still has a contemporary look and feel to it.

Media - 1929.8.469.6 - SAAM-1929.8.469.6_2 - 140938

Società Anonima per Azioni Salviati & Co., manufacturer, Fenicio Goblet with Swans and Initial “S” Stem, ca. 1870, blown and applied glass hot-worked glass, 12 5/8 x 5 1/8 in. diam., Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellaty, 1929.8.469.6

Lastly, this exquisite piece, the Fenicio Goblet with Swans and Initial “S” Stem, serves as the physical swan song for 2021—the attention to detail to this brillantly colored luxury glassware is truly breathtaking.

Since these goblets were primarily used as decoration pieces rather than for daily, functional use, we urge you to raise a glass (of your own choosing) and warm up those pipes to belt out a few verses of “Auld Lang Syne”:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you'll buy your pint cup!
and surely I'll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o' kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Happy New Year from all of us at SAAM!

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