A selection of Baccarat cut-glass sulphide plaques. Estimate: $800-1,200. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.

New York- On April 21, Christie’s New York will bring more than 180 works of art to the saleroom in A Marriage of Collections: The Property of Dr. Julius and Dena K. Tarshis.  Focused into four main categories- 19th century European and Russian glass, European porcelain, antique and ancient jewelry and walking sticks- the works on offer illuminate the Tarshis’ enthusiasm for diverse, quality objects within each field.

Dr. Julius and Dena K. Tarshis

Dena and Julius Tarshis were consummate collectors, historians and scholars. They aspired to educate others, generously lending works from their collection, serving as trustees at the Corning Museum of Glass and curating exhibitions often in conjunction with art historian Paul Jokelson.  Dena Tarshis authored a number of books and articles on the subject of 19th century glass and as Vice President of the American Society for Jewelry Historians she was a frequent lecturer on precious stones.  In addition to his medical practice, Julius Tarshis both created his own studio pieces and served as the President of the Paperweight Collector’s Association.


Prominently featured in the sale are The Jokelson Vases, a pair of Baccarat cut-glass vases decorated with enameled gold-foil bouquets, circa 1825-1830 (estimate: $100,000-200,000).  Paul Jokelson’s (1905-2002) first glass purchase in 1923 led to a lifetime of study, which included penning several books, and curating seminal exhibitions, and acting as the American representative for the Baccarat, Saint Louis and Cristal D’Albret glass factories.   Each of these extraordinary vases encloses a delicately enameled and intricately tooled gold-foil bouquet including roses, tulips, pansies and other flowers.


A pair of ormolu-mounted Baccarat cut-glass vases. Circa 1825-1830.  Of baluster form, each centering a large enameled and tooled gold foil inclusion of a bouquet including roses, tulips, pansies, convolvulus and other flowers, the faceted neck and socle mounted with an ormolu band cast with anthemion, above a stepped square foot. Estimate: $100,000-200,000. Photo: Christie's Images Ltd., 2010.

An Ormolu-Mounted Bercy Glassworks (Jean-Alexandre Paris) Cut-Glass Musical Sewing Casket and Cover (Coffret à Couture) . Circa 1830, the gold mounts with poinçon (hallmarks) for 1819-38. Estimate: $20,000-30,000.

And what began as a few walking sticks for Dr. Tarshis’ father expanded into a collection of hundreds of canes, many sporting fanciful handles.  The assortment includes examples from varied dates, materials and countries of origin with estimates ranging from $800 to $1,200.  They include animal themes such as a bull dog with retractable mouth, human forms, English and Continental ceramic, and erotica.  Often more than meets the eye, additional walking sticks and systems canes enclosing all sorts of interesting objects - rattles, flags, maps, dice, paint tools and even a bagpipe - will be offered at the Christie’s Interiors sale on June 24-25.

Auctions: A Marriage of Collections: The Property of Dr. Julius and Dena K.Tarshis. April 21

Viewing: Christie's Rockefeller Center Galleries. April 16-20

Further highlights include a massive Baccarat close millefiori glass newel post, signed and dated B 1848, (estimate: $30,000-50,000).  Highly exhibited and published, this newel post was previously on loan for many years to the Corning Museum of Glass and featured prominently in Dena Tarshis’ 2001 book, Objects of Fantasy: Glass Inclusions of the Nineteenth Century.  This mesmerizing masterwork would have been a true luxury item at the time.  It is nearly three times the size of Baccarat’s usual millefiori production and took over two years to complete.


A Massive Baccarat Close Millefiori Glass Newel Post. Comprising tightly packed brightly colored canes, including silhouettes of a cockerel, peahen, dog, horse, man, goat, deer, swan and butterfuly among honecomb, stars, arrowheads, trefoils, shmrocks and whorl canes, the stem set in a short metal circular socle mount. Estimate: $30,000-50,000.

The sale also includes a charmingly romantic glass musical sewing casket, circa 1830 (estimate: $20,000-30,000).  The cover is set with a sulphide and gold foil scene of a young woman inscribing pensez à moi (think of me) onto a tree.  Opening the interior reveals a fully equipped sewing set mounted in 18-karat gold, including scissors, a thimble, a needle case and mother-pearl bobbins and spools.  Below all these intricate tools lies a Swiss cylindrical sectional comb music box that plays two airs.