Frederick Carder
American, 1863 - 1963
Steuben Division, Corning Glass Works, manufacturer (Corning, NY)
Vase, 1928

H. 12 x Dia. 6 (at shoulder) in.

In a remarkable career, Frederick Carder spent eighty-two of his 100 years exploring the complex secrets of earlier glassmaking as he developed and refined countless decorative techniques. Much of his output was firmly grounded in late 19th-century design and techniques — those that he had learned while still in England — but his adoption of curvilinear, organic Art Nouveau elements, and later more rectilinear and stylized Art Deco ones, evinced his willingness to implement change and go with the times, rather than stay within the comfortable confines of tradition.

Soon after visiting the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs in 1925, stylized floral designs began appearing in his vase forms such as this notable example of 1928. Uncharacteristic, it is unique for its severe almost geometric stylized floral design as straight lines "required a minimum of artistic skill" in Carder's opinion. The icy blue ground overlayed with abstract green spears appears as a kind of reverse condensation. Two additional forms were created for the Debut line.

Such moderne designs are uncommon as the majority of Carder's designs were still in the more traditional, classical, Venetian, Oriental and English styles, which served as the backbone of his business for more than fifty years.

A craftsman, designer, scientist and businessman par excellence, Carder was the premier exponent of early 20th-century American art glass — and the unrivaled founder of America's modern glass industry.

The Depression soon cast a terrible shadow over industrial glass production in American through the '30s. The Steuben Glass Company produced expensive, limited editions of art glass that included images and patterns derived from the 1925 Paris Exposition. Founded in 1903 by the Englishman Frederick Carder, the company was originally organized to produce crystal blanks for the Corning Glass Cutters, of which it became a division in 1918. An able craftsman, Carder created a line of colored art glass that remained in production until 1933. His work of the 1920s and early 1930 was based on the French Art Deco style, as is readily seen in his hunting pattern vase, of around 1925. Made of acid-cut translucent glass decorated with leaping gazelles, the model incorporates stylized foliage and curved and zigzag motifs drawn from images popular at the Paris Salons some years earlier.

Carder's design skills, combined with his vast technical knowledge, led to his development and the factory's production of various types of decorative colored glassware besides Aurene, including the Calcite, Cintra, Cluthra, Intarsia, Ivrene, Moss Agate, Silverine and Verre de Soie lines. He experimented with a wide variety of old and new production methods and types of decoration, among them cased, cameo and bubbled glass and etching and enameling on glass.

Today, he is perhaps best know for his Intarsia line which he considered his greatest achievement in glassmaking.