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150th Anniversary of Glassmaking in Corning

On view: December 22, 2017 – December 31, 2018

The Rockwell joins our sister institution, Corning Museum of Glass, in celebrating the 150th anniversary of glassmaking in Corning. This installation features the work of Frederick Carder, lead designer for Steuben Glass Works from 1903–1932.

Steuben Glass Works was founded in 1903 by the entrepreneur Thomas Gibbons Hawkes (1846–1913). Hawkes persuaded Frederick Carder, a gifted glass designer, to move to Corning to manage the new company, promising him a free hand in design and production.

Frederick Carder, Orange Cintra Punch Bowl, 1915.

Frederick Carder, Orange Cintra Punch Bowl, 1915, lead glass (shape 3240), (77.294 F). Gift of Robert F. Rockwell III. Photo: Nick Williams.

Frederick Carder (1863–1963) was born in England and left school at the age of 14 to join his family’s pottery business. He continued to study chemistry in night school and developed an interest in glass making. Carder became a designer at Stevens & Williams, a large English glassmaking company. He worked there until 1903, when he moved with his family to Corning to lead Steuben Glass Works. Under his direction, Steuben introduced an astonishing range of colors and techniques in decorative glass for the home. In 1932, Carder left Steuben to become the design director of Corning Glass Works. There, he created one-of-a-kind cast glass sculptures, such as the bust of the Indian Chief that welcomes museum visitors in the Rotunda of The Rockwell Museum.

Frederick Carder, Pair of Mirror Black Candlesticks, circa 1926.

Frederick Carder, Pair of Mirror Black Candlesticks, circa 1926, lead glass (76.552.1-2 F). Gift of Hertha G. Rockwell. Photograph courtesy of The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York.

Corning businessman Robert F. Rockwell, Jr. (1911–2009) began a thirty-year friendship with Frederick Carder in the 1940s. However, it was not until the late 1950s that he began to actively collect Carder’s Steuben glass. In the following decades, Bob and his wife Hertha assembled the world’s largest private collection of Carder-designed Steuben glass. It was later gifted to The Rockwell Museum along with the family’s extensive collection of American paintings, drawings, sculpture, Native American art, and historic firearms.

The objects featured in this exhibition were produced under the direction of Frederick Carder during his tenure at the Steuben Glass Works, from 1903 through 1932. These works have been curated to highlight the virtuosity and range of Carder’s skill as a designer. More examples of Carder’s celebrated work can be seen across the river at The Corning Museum of Glass in the dedicated Frederick Carder Gallery.

 

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