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French Deco Art Glass
Looking back at the verve and dynamism of the Art Deco movement during the Roaring Twenties is exhilarating. Viewing the art of the period one almost seems to hear jazz pulsating in a syncopating rhythm. It was a fertile period for creating art glass, and nowhere was Art Deco’s vibrant spirit displayed more flamboyantly than in France, and no one was a more fervent, or more controversial, champion of Art Deco than Charles Schneider. An early disciple, Schneider embraced Art Deco enthusiastically, and proceeded to execute it with such imaginative eclat that his creations have been termed the quintessential Art Deco glass. As he was leading the charge into a new age, ahead of his time, he created an immense variety of spectacular models, which captured the attention of a clientele that was still accustomed to a world of Art Nouveau.
When history finally judges the great innovators of French art glass, taking a deserved place next to his contemporaries Daum and Lalique will be Charles Schneider. He, more than any other glass artist of his time, designed and crafted pieces that not only vividly embody the spirit of Art Deco, but transcend its era. Sophisticated glass enthusiasts have realized that Charles Schneider’s works fit amazingly well into our modern lifestyle and décor. That timelessness alone affirms his status as one of the foremost French glass artists of the Art Deco movement. Anyone who appreciates art glass and takes the time to study the great variety of his works, will undoubtedly be attracted by the elegance of Schneider’s designs and by the harmonious simplicity of his compositions.
The Schneider Glass Works was in existence for a relatively short time and closed even before World War II. The astounding fact of his success is that his great variety of work was created during a span of about fifteen years from 1918-1933. That short span remains as the focal point of his lasting contribution to Art Deco glass. After the war his son Robert took over leading the re-opened company as well as the artistic effort. But the era of dramatic colored glass artistry was history. Charles Schneider contributed occasional designs until his death in 1953, but he never resumed the position of influence in the glass world that he occupied during his glory years. His spectacular designs added zest to life in the 1920s, and they continue to be relevant in our time through their compelling sophistication and stylish exuberance. The tremendous variety of Charles Schneider’s offerings during such a brief time is a testament to his talent as a glass artist, who not only demonstrated mastery of all elements of his art, but who also understood clearly the economic factors shaping life in his time. Charles Schneider’s imaginative and elegant oeuvres burst forth like a flood, an elementary force, spontaneous and vigorous, changing concepts and challenging limits, his work leaving in its wake a glorious tribute to human creativity.
It is indeed a distinct privilege to pay tribute to Charles Schneider, master of art deco glass, by presenting examples of his work. His creations are a strong force in the French art glass field, and it is only fitting that we, in keeping his glorious legacy alive, afford him the recognition that the creative impact of his achievement rightfully deserves.
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