Glass Art from the 20th Century

An outstanding private collection of glass art from the 20th century is now up for auction. The owner is the Danish doctor Torben Sørensen who has spent a lifetime gathering glass art from Italy, Finland and Sweden. The collection will be sold at the autumn's traditional auction and subsequent online auctions.


This September, we celebrate the art of glass here at Bruun Rasmussen. At the autumn auction in Copenhagen, we present a private collection of about 1,000 works of glass art. This has resulted in 350 lots, distributed across a traditional auction and subsequent online auctions.

The collection is truly unique, and it ranges from rare and precious collectibles to more everyday decorative items. The estimates run from DKK 2,000 up to DKK 150,000.

The Collection of Doctor Glass

The man behind the collection is the Danish doctor Torben Sørensen – a true collector whose knowledge on the subject is endless. He understands the techniques of making glass, he has visited many of the famous glassworks and he has been a permanent fixture at auctions, fairs and exhibitions all over Europe. For many, he has come to be known as "Doctor Glass". Torben Sørensen has now chosen to sell his collection to dedicate himself to his other great passion – hunting.

From Functionality to Art

Glass consists predominantly of sand – first heated and then blown back into solid form. Like no other material, glass is able to capture light, and its expression depends to a great degree on the surrounding light. Therefore, glass also played an increasing role in design as lighting gradually became more important in interior design. From the middle of the 20th century, the purpose of glass moved from the purely functional towards a medium of art. Glass objects began to take on new shapes and colours inspired by the art of the time. This time of transition abounds with creativity in the history of glass art, which is clearly demonstrated by the collection here.

Glass Under the Hammer

In the period 1920-1960, three countries, in particular, contributed to the innovations within glass art: Italy, Finland and Sweden. This can also be seen at the auction, which is divided into three sections that reflect the special characteristics of these three countries.

There is no doubt that the glass art from Murano in Venice represents something special with its wealth of colours and diverse forms. Included in the auction are approx. 60 lots from the area. Among the absolute highlights of the collection are four pieces of glass designed and made with the fine Merletto caneworking technique by the master of Murano glass, Archimede Seguso. It is very rare to find four of these works at one and the same auction.

Most of the auction's Italian glassware pieces come from the Venini glassworks, which belong to the most dominant of the area during this period. This is true of well-known favourites such as Fulvio Bianconi's colourful and richly patterned work, performed in the eye-catching Pezzato technique. Among the rarer works are pieces such as a fish by Swedish designer Tyra Lundgren, a bowl attributed to Carlo Scarpa and a funny sea lion by Fulvio Bianconi.

Glass from the Nordic Works

In line with the Nordic design traditions, Scandinavia's glass art is not surprisingly simpler and less colourful. The focus here is on clear glass, which brings to mind the Scandinavian climate of snow and ice. The most famous designers in Finland are Timo Sarpaneva and Tapio Wirkkala, who are represented at the auction with some of their most famous works.

The auction’s section with Swedish glass art covers a long period in design history from 1915 to 1952. The pieces from the Orrefors glasswork stand out, and from here comes a nice selection of 50 lots that show the changing styles of the period. One of the most important names in Swedish glass art is Vicke Lindstrand, who worked at Orrefors in the years 1928-41, but from 1950-73 he served as artistic director at the competitor Kosta. His works truly capture the spirit of the 1950s, as can be seen in the works at this auction.

Auction: Wednesday 26 September at 5 pm at Bredgade 33, Copenhagen

Preview: 13-17 September at the same address

View the lots from the collection at the traditional auction
View the lots from the online auctions
Read more about the auction
Read about bidding


For further information, please contact:

Peter Kjelgaard: +45 8818 1191 ·