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Bonhams to feature modern masterpieces of ceramic & glass art from Dorothy Weiss Collection
Peter Voulkos (American, 1924-2002), Cream and Blue, Stack/Vase, 1973. Glazed stoneware with porcelain pass-throughs, height 31in (78.7cm); diameter 20in (50.9cm). Est. $25,000-35,000. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- An unparalleled assembly of contemporary California ceramics and glass art from the highly-regarded Collection of Dorothy Weiss leads the upcoming 20th Century Decorative Arts auction on April 16th in Bonhams Los Angeles. The collection on offer features works from significant ceramic and glass artists such as Peter Voulkos, Jun Kaneko, Ruth Duckworth, Dale Chihuly, Michael Lucero and Rudy Autio.

From 1959, Dorothy Weiss transformed the modest Oakland Museum Bookshop into one of the leading galleries for contemporary Californian glass and ceramic art in California. Later she went on to establish the Dorothy Weiss Gallery in San Francisco, which became a focal point for the art community until its closure in 2000. In turn, Weiss cultivated friendships with many artists, and her redwood home in Piedmont specially designed to display her collection, became the backdrop for social gatherings. Over the course of her career, Weiss made an immeasurable contribution in the advancement of over 200 contemporary artists.

Prior to the mid 1950s, American ceramics followed the European and Asian canon and style, mainly viewed as functional craft. Gradually it developed into an Abstract Expressionist art form, and the astute Weiss foresaw the significance of this shift in ceramic art in California, a movement specifically led by contemporary ceramicist Peter Voulkos whose work features in her collection. Bonhams will offer Voulkos's "Cream and Blue Stack/Vase, 1973" (est. $25,000-35,000), a glazed stoneware vessel about 31 inches high and 20 inches in diameter and shaped with slashes and piercings, as was the quintessential Voulkos style. His process would often involve vigorous tearing, pounding and gouging before being applied with a glaze and fired. Some critics have likened the performance of Voulkos's work process to that of Jackson Pollock.

Bonhams also highlights Jun Kaneko in the Weiss collection. Originally from Nagoya, Japan, Kaneko came to California in the 1960s and was inspired by his professor and close personal friend, Peter Voulkos, and the revolution happening with ceramics at the time. On offer is his work from the widely-celebrated Dango series. The 650-pound, glazed white ceramic structure (est. $18,000-25,000) dotted with contrasting solid black circles, was purchased by the Weiss family and placed in their back garden. The soft roundness of the piece is an expression of "Dango," an affectionate term for dumpling, often associated with happiness and sweet objects in Japanese culture.

Other auction highlights include a variety of contemporary art glass by Dale Chihuly, including an important wall sculpture entitled, Zinnia Red Persian Wall Installation, 2000 (est. $50,000-70,000) as well as the timeless European design of a limited edition Ado Chale bronze and enameled steel Les Monts de Vénus table circa 1975 (est. $30,000-50,000). A selection of sculptural 1950s lighting components by seminal French designers Jean Boris Lacroix and Serge Mouille, as well as early 20th century design masterpieces by the Wiener Werkstätte, and works by influential French art deco designer Edgar Brandt and the Tiffany Studios also feature.

Director of 20th Century Decorative Arts in Bonhams Los Angeles, Daniel Tolson, expressed his excitement for the upcoming sale, stating, "we are proud to present such a well rounded auction, with works by some of the greatest international designers of the 20th century. We are also delighted to present a selection of works from the collection of the late Dorothy Weiss and hope that this auction will draw attention to her life and legacy."

Previews of the auction will take place from April 12 to 15 and the auction will be held on April 16 at the Sunset Boulevard saleroom.

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