Sabino glass figure

above: Sabino glass,
nude figure "Reveil"

Sabino signature




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below: Sabino glass
perfume bottle named
"La Ronde Fleurie" in
Sabino 1931 catalogue

Sabino glass perfume

For comparison here
is the vase "Gaiete"
from 1931 catalogue

Sabino Gaiete


Below is a picture
of the vase "Petalia"
as shown in the 1930-31
Sabino catalogue.

Sabino Petalia vase

Sabino Glass from the
Glass Encyclopedia

Discussion of Sabino Glass:
Sabino Glass was and still is, made in France to the designs of Marius Ernest Sabino. Sabino himself was born in Sicily in 1878 but went to France at the age of four. He followed his father's footsteps in training originally as a sculptor, and that early training can be detected in the exquisite figurines that he sculpted to make the molds for his glass designs.

Sabino fought for the French in the first world war, and after the war he recognised the commercial opportunities for glass products in the newly-emerging electric-lighting industry. The company he set up made lighting products (lampshades, lamps, glass panels, etc) and a range of opalescent glass vases and statuettes. They had retail outlets in Paris as well as their production facilities. They won prizes at all the major international exhibitions between the two world wars.

Sabino's opalescent glass had a higher arsenic content than most of his competitors, and we understand that after the war the constituents of Sabino glass were changed to reduce the arsenic content. This is one of the ways in which post-war Sabino glass might be distinguished from earlier production pieces. It is said to feel and look different, pre-war Sabino glass is softer and feels "soapy" (a difference that could be detected in a laboratory). But not everyone has the opportunity to handle enough Sabino glass to know the difference. And there have been conflicting statements made about the constituents of later Sabino glass.

Originally Sabino glass was either marked "Sabino France" because it was intended for export, or "Sabino Paris" if it was intended for sale within France. Post-war production has all been made in France and then exported to the USA. The larger pieces still carry the "Sabino Paris" signature, which was etched onto the base of the pieces. Smaller pieces are marked "Sabino France" moulded into the side of the item. The Sabino Company still sells early stock of some items which can no longer be made because the moulds were destroyed.

"Verart" and "Vernox" were two other trade marks used by Sabino during the 1930's. They were developed to compete in the cheaper market for opalescent glass that had been opened up by companies like Holophane (trademark "Verlys").

The war starting in 1939 called a halt to all Sabino production, and after the war Marius Ernest Sabino handed over the management of the company to his nephew/adopted son Monsieur Gripoix-Sabino. Marius Ernest died in 1961, by which time Sabino was again producing opalescent glass using the same moulds that he had designed. All their output was exported to the USA.

In 1978 Mr. Gripoix-Sabino sold the entire Sabino operation (moulds, factory, designs, rights and glass formulae) to the company's American agent Richard Choucroun and his "Sabino Crystal Company". This company has continued to produce Sabino Art Glass in France using the same moulds, the same factory, and the same processes, exporting all their output to the USA, and distributing it world-wide from their head office in Houston, Texas. So their production is not reproduction, but rather continuous production.

To assist in identification I have included pictures of the vases "Gaiete" and "Petalia" as they are shown in the Sabino catalogue of 1930-31. This catalogue was reproduced in full in a book by Philip Decelle in 1987 called "Sabino: Maitre Verrier de L'Art Deco 1878 - 1961". The identification for the nude figure "Reveil" and the fish vase "Carangues" are from the same catalogue. The current catalogue from Sabino Art Glass uses a different name for the perfume bottle "La Fleure Rondi" which is now called "Gaite" and the name "Petalia" is applied to yet another different design.


References and Further Reading:

Most books on art glass and those on French glass include information about Sabino. Click on the title or picture to read more about a particular book.









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