During much of the 20th Century, the DeVilbiss Company of Toledo, Ohio, designed and produced some of the finest perfume bottles and vanity items ever. More than 140 of them are on display through July 5 at the Spartanburg Art Museum. This stunning exhibit showcases mostly those from between 1924 and 1929, a time when Art Deco was the signature style in decorative arts throughout America and Europe. Represented are the important glass houses of Steuben, Cambridge, Tiffin, Imperial and others.
The exhibit includes atomizers, powder boxes, lamps and trays in a majestic array of colors and sheens. Many are embellished with contrast enameling and gold filigree. They are from the private collection of Jay and Pamela Kaplan, Spartanburg residents and long-time members of the International Perfume Bottle Association. (Disclosure: I’m a member also.)
The Kaplan collection is part of a larger exhibit, “Furnace and Flame: Contemporary Studio Glass,” which surveys modern processes in glass-making. One whimsical piece is a pink micro-beaded purse resembling a glove. The title is “Handbag” by David Chatt. Another is a colorful line-up of what appear to be semi-inflated water balloons. They are from the blown glass “Rainbow of Bags” portfolio of Kate Vogel and John Littleton, who also curated the exhibit.
The Spartanburg Art Museum is located at the Chapman Cultural Center, 200 E. St. John St., Spartanburg, S.C. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: $4 adults; $2 children. Telephone: 864-582-7616.
TIP: Near the front entrance are bicycle racks, cleverly fashioned into music staffs.