What Makes a Vase Worth $2,000?

A 1936 Orrefors vase signed by Simon Gate

Your glass vase was made by a company called Orrefors and it is artist-signed by Simon Gate. The Orrefors glassworks was founded in 1898 near Lake Orrenas in Kosta, Sweden. This area of Sweden is now known for its production of glass due to the availability of natural resources and knowledge of the glass industry.

Orrefors originally made windows and utilitarian glassware. It was not until 1913 when the company began to branch out into art glass production. At this time, Orrefors was purchased by Johan Ekman, a wealthy businessman, who steered the company towards experimentation with art glass and more sophisticated designs by hiring talented glass blowers and designers.

Many of the Orrefors pieces created during this time were copies of the designs of the popular French glassmakers such as Lalique and Galle. In 1916, Orrefors hired artists Simon Gate and Edvard Hald as principal designers. Both artists were trained as painters (Hald studied with Matisse) and did not have previous knowledge in glassmaking. They brought a fresh perspective to the company. Simon Gate, working with master glassblower Knut Bergkvist, created a new mode of glass design called Graal. This Graal technique was created by using multiple layers of colored glass over a blank. When cooled in an annealer, a design was cut through the various layers of colored glass. The piece was then encased in clear crystal and blown into its final shape. Each one of these works was one-of-a-kind and expensive.

In 1925, Simon Gate worked with engraver Gustaf Abels who would engrave Gate’s artwork onto clear crystal blanks using a copper wheel. This new art glass depicted women, which was a departure from the typical naturalistic decoration of the period. The design won accolades and many awards at the Paris Exposition in 1925 and the term “Swedish Grace” became synonymous with Art Deco.

Your piece is signed by Simon Gate and was made in 1936 (Orrefors used a coding system to date their works). Orrefors glass is still being made today, continuing the tradition using inspiration from Gate’s designs long after his death in 1945.

As yours is an early signed piece in excellent condition, I would estimate the vase at $2,000

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