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collections > special collections > The Nicholas UNKOVIC collection
 

The Nicholas Unkovic Collection

John Dreves (American)
Traditional Elephant (7896), 1941
Glass, 6 3/4"
Gift of Mary Clark Unkovic

 

David Hills (American)
Snail (7982), 1949
Glass, 2 3/4" x 1 3/8" x 3 1/2"
Gift of Mary Clark Unkovic

 

The Nicholas Unkovic Collection consists of 95 Steuben Glass sculptures dating from 1940 to 1980.  Known as “ornamentals,” these pieces include figurines, paperweights, and other decorative objects.  Like most Steuben produced after 1940, they are made of clear glass and notable for their expressive, free-flowing forms.  The quasi-abstract appearance of much of the collection reflects Steuben’s conscious effort to produce “modern” glass following a change of leadership in the 1930s.  Struggling with the effects of the Great Depression, the company’s new president, Arthur Houghton Jr., hoped to capitalize on the American public’s growing appreciation for the streamlined forms of Art Deco.  The new look proved popular, and for decades afterward, the general appearance of Steuben’s ornamentals remained essentially unchanged.