Combining the fundamental elements of the American Art Nouveau movement, which saw the marriage of ‘high’ art and the techniques of arts and crafts, the tradition of contemporary art glass serves in both beauty and function for the most discerning – and democratic – collector. Many contemporary glass artisans, from Europe to America, take their inspiration from the Italian factories of Murano, the Venetian island where glass blowers skills were legendary and highly guarded from one generation to the next.

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Like their Italian forerunners, contemporary art glass ranges in size, color and function, from the most elaborate of display pieces to the most subtle of vessels. The traditions of Murano – and beyond – have now extended to major American cities where the craft is alive and well today, carried out by firms and foundries eager to share this timeless decorating element which marries both form and function.

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Hitting the auction block at Great Gatsby’s this February are some fine examples of contemporary art glass from two stateside firms, Taylor Backes Studio in Pennsylvania, home to artist and founder Will Dexter, and New Day Glass, located in upstate New York. The beautiful centerpiece bowls of New Day Glass undulate with riotous color, calling to mind the traditional, full-lipped forms of Murano with interior hues of complementary yellow and purple, to floral inspired shapes of mottled ruby and indigo. For the more adventurous collector, the suite of three ‘drip’ vases by Will Dexter call to mind the iridescence of sea creatures and underwater plants.

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The unique gilt inclusions in each applied ‘drip’ are caused by the presence of dichroic glass, causing each of the pastel-hued pieces to appear otherworldly. Glass, from the most conventional of uses to the most brazen of pieces, has inspired artisans for centuries, and shows no sign of pause thanks to the modern-day craftsmen and women who keep the tradition alive while simultaneously pushing the form to exciting decorative heights.