COLLECTIONS: PAPERWEIGHTS my collection, a “signed” Baccarat Mille fleur paperweight.

By now you are aware that not only do I have many collections but so do my friends that I have (and will) profiled. One of my earliest collections was paperweights, along with ink wells.  For some totally unknown reason, I gave my entire collection to a friend!  When I happen to visit I can enjoy looking at them.  While thinking about this post I looked around my home and found I don’t have a single one that I could photograph for this posting. Oh well!  I can, however, talk about them.

I highlighted so many of Candace and Chuck Jordan’s collection last week and spotted in the corner of one of the photos a taste of their paperweight collection,  I asked Candace to send me a photo of them which you see below and she added the following: “I have too many to put out right now but my collection includes 19th century French weights from Clichy, Baccarat, and St. Louis as well as American weights from New England Glass Company and a few English ones.”

imageA portion of Candace Jordan’s paperweight collection displayed on an antique silver serving tray. Photo courtesy of Candace Jordan.

The following is taken from the Art Institute of Chicago website and page devoted to its paperweight collection.  A must see in Gallery 15.

““Some fragment of a dream”—that is how American writer Truman Capote, himself a devoted collector of paperweights, described these fascinating objects. The hundreds of thousands of visitors who delight in the Art Institute’s Arthur Rubloff Collection of Paperweights every year would surely agree. Since the fall of 2012, there is even more of that dream to discover. Thanks to the generous support of the International Paperweight Society Foundation and L. H. Selman, Ltd., along with the involvement of the family of Wes Clark in memory of Paul Jokelson, the Art Institute was able to expand our gallery dedicated to paperweights.

Bursting with gorgeous color and mesmerizing pattern and design, the Arthur Rubloff Collection of Paperweights came to the museum in 1978. Rubloff, a real estate developer and dedicated philanthropist, was among the first generation of 20th-century paperweight collectors to rediscover objects of the mid-19th century, known as the form’s classic period. He made his first paperweight purchases in 1947 as gifts for his real estate partner, who had a small collection, but soon became enamored with the objects himself. He was not alone; a growing number of collectors gathered under the umbrella of the Paperweight Collectors Association, founded in 1953. Rubloff eventually amassed a total of 1,472 paperweights, of which 1,200 were donated to the Art Institute. This remarkable assemblage is now recognized as one of three premier collections in the world. Few collections more fully showcase the quality of craftsmanship, technological innovation, intricacy, and beauty of this art form.

The gallery expansion project increased the number of paperweights on view from 341 to more than 800. Eight new wall cases, along with a new pedestal case, have been installed, all to highlight a larger selection from the Rubloff Collection. And, for the first time a dedicated space features a selection of contemporary paperweights, including a beautiful new piece designed especially for the gallery reopening by renowned paperweight artist Paul Stankard.” for further details.

Paul Stankard. Honey Bee Swarm with Flowers and Fruit, 2012. Gift of the artist. Photo from the Art Institute of Chicago Collection.  Isn’t it magnificent!!!!

Some of the “silhouette” paperweights in the Arthur Rubloff Collection.

To me, each is a tiny bit of heaven to be closely studied.  When you see this exhibit you will see how many different types and themes of paperweights there are and each country has its very own look.

The weights became popular between 1845 and 1860 and were mainly produced in France by Baccarat, Clichy, and St. Louis. Others were produced in England and the United States all very collectible and you will find many themes. Want to begin or add to your collection of weights start by going to the monthly Randolph Street Market, the next one is Saturday and Sunday, March 25th and 26th.

There is a wonderful YouTube video I would suggest watching if you want to learn about how the weights are made when they were introduced in Italy,

Interesting side bar…Arthur Rubloff and my first Saks Fifth Avenue store manager, Howard “Hal” J. Clyne were the best of friends.  Two more dapper gentlemen you would never find.  They worked tirelessly to make the Magnificent Mile into a destination and were the pioneers of what it has become today. Rubloff 1977 photograph by Arthur Shay from his collection at the Museum of Contemporary Photography located at Columbia College Chicago.

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