Higgins, Michael & Francis (American, 20th Century)
Enamel coated glass and brass
33in h x 26in w x 6in d
• An Important Main Line, PA Collection
• Acquired from Lost City Arts, New York, NY 27 June 2013
Michael and Frances Higgins first met at the Chicago Institute of Design and opened Higgins Studio in 1948. They later expanded their workshop in 1957 in partnership with the Dearborn Glass Company who promoted their line of fused glass tableware, decorative pieces and rondelays as “Higginsware,” selling to Marshall Fields, Georg Jensen, and the Los Angeles based luxury department store Bullocks Wilshire. In 1966 they moved their studio workshop to Riverside, Illinois where it is in operation today, maintained by their hand-picked successors Louise and Jonathan Wimmer.
Although glass fusing is an ancient technique, the Higgins duo modernized the technique to fit mid-twentieth century aesthetic. Their celebrated style starts with one layer of colored glass that is drawn on with colored enamels or decorated with glass segments, then its layered with another enamel-decorated piece of glass, placed on a mold and heated to fuse the pieces together as one.
Higgins’ rondelay screens are emblematic of mid-century modern art glass. These assemblages of richly colored round or square glass discs were used as wall art, window treatments and room dividers. The present screen consists of fifteen, six-inch round discs in various hues of blues and purples, and is suspended from a black metal mount.