Born of Sand and Fire
Selections from Dan Dailey: From the Barbara Tarleton Collection
3 September 2019
Philadelphia-born visual artist Dan Dailey is counted among the pioneers of the American Studio Glass movement. Since 1970, Dailey has produced sculpture and functional art with an emphasis on lighting that oft depicts human characters, the world we inhabit, and iconic and familiar forms. Made primarily from glass and metal, Dailey’s myriad series explore extraordinary concepts in a broad range of themes and styles.
The rationale for Dailey’s art, whether presented in glass, metal or, at the elemental level, in drawing, is a desire to communicate thoughts. Rendered first as sketches, Dailey’s creations are inspired chiefly by ideas and concepts rather than technique or process. His fabricated works are meticulously crafted with painstaking attention to detail - his blown glass creations so uniquely expressive as to defy historic or contemporary comparison.
In addition to his singular works, Dailey has produced designs for Steuben, Daum, and Waterford Crystal. Works by Dailey have been included in over 100 exhibitions, over 350 juried or invitational group shows, and are represented in more than 50 museum and public collections around the world.
The following lots come direct from the artist’s personal archives. Many of the works were owned for years by the artist’s mother, Barbara Tarleton (1926-2001). A percentage of the proceeds from this collection will benefit Tarleton Castle Arts, a non-profit arts center named in honor of Barbara and the Tarleton Family.
The Standing Female Figurative Floor Lamp is one of a limited edition of six pieces. Each cast-bronze lamp features a distinctive blown-glass shade, applied gold-plated brass forms, and Vitrolite mosaic base. As such, despite being part of an edition, each lamp is unique.
Dailey’s “Animal Vases” were inspired by a Daum vase the artist saw in Paris in the 1980s. The vase form is subtly evident through the sculpturally dominant form of the animal.
Someone once asked Dailey why he created some of the animals standing on their noses. He replied that he was “not trying to replicate the animal realistically and make glass taxidermy; it’s sculpture.”
The Waterford Bird Sconces, (as well as the Birds in Flight Chandelier and the vase Mostly Satisfied, all on offer in this sale) were crafted at the Waterford Crystal factory in Ireland as part of a project aimed at introducing Waterford designers to the influence and inspiration of American artists. Within the context of this endeavor, Dailey and six other American artists worked independently to design pieces for the firm.
The “Abstract Head” series represents Dailey’s foray into cubism, wherein the deconstruction of facial elements became the palette from which he composed each head, featuring themes of moods and attitudes. The stark abstraction and minimal representation of the faces is a response to the natural development of the sculpture as he worked with the blowing team.
The “DT” series, a group of vases Dailey produced in collaboration with fellow glass artist Lino Tagliapietra, was inspired by an exhibition of ancient Roman glass the two had visited. Dailey drew full-size renderings of the vases and assisted Tagliapietra in their production at Fratelli Dona on Murano and later at the Creative Glass Center of America. Tagliapietra worked the forms to give them the appearance of old Roman glass, rendering them deliberately imperfect. Dailey and his assistants painted the images of landscapes he had admired during train rides throughout Italy, painstakingly applying vitreous enamels to the glass in impasto style.