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Finding Blenko's Place in Glass History

Modern Magazine
Summer 2013


It is hard to overlook Blenko glass - it's colorful, distinctive, and sometimes very big. But its important role in the history of American glass design has been largely overlooked until recently. Thanks in large part to specialist dealer Damon Crain, who recently joined the Domus Design Collection (DDC) showroom in New York, the most creative designs produced by the Blenko Glass Company in West Virginia in the second and third quarters of the twentieth century are taking their rightful place in the history of American glass and in the holdings of American museums. To wit: Sixteen pieces have recently been acquired by the Toledo Museum of Art, whose glass collection is considered to be among the most comprehensive and historically significant in the world.

Much colored glass is misattributed as Blenko, says Crain, who's made it his mission to set the record straight. While the firm made lots of farily ordinary tablewares (albeit in vivid colors), between 1947 and 1974 four in-house design directors were responsible for a number of designs that can be said to form a missing link in American glass history , between the works of Lewis Comfort Tiffany and the studio glass movement in the 1970’s.

You might have time to catch the exhibition of “architectural scale” Blenko (that’s the big stuff) that Crain has on view at DDC until July 21. If not, he’s already working on a show called Masterworks, which will feature the one hundred most important designs of that crucial period between 1947 and 1974.

Link to article on Modern Magazine's website