Cybis did not produce nearly as many rose studies as Boehm or Connoisseur of Malvern but the ones they did create are well worth looking at.
Their very first rose also poses a little mystery as to its naming and production, but bear with me a bit and we will sort it out!
This yellow rose was the studio’s first stand-alone rose sculpture. It is 5″ high and was produced between 1964 (at $60) and 1969 (at $80.)
The 1965 Cybis catalog contains a photo of this rose with the caption Yellow Condesa Rose and so one would assume that was its name…..but wait, there’s more — as they say on tv. (Notice also that the stem at the upper right in the catalog sculpture bears a single half-open rosebud instead of two smaller ones; a minor detail difference fairly often found in 1960s Cybis catalog photos in general.)
These three alternate colorways (white, pink, and red) appear to be the same piece. [The photos above do not show the colors at their best.] According to the 1979 Cybis catalog the white one was made only in 1964 and 1965 at a price of $45, while the pink and red ones were made during the same years and at the same prices as the yellow (1964-1969, $60-$80.) At some point after 1965 Cybis changed the name of this design to simply Rose. Unfortunately I do not have any price lists from 1964, 1965 or 1966; my 1967 list shows merely “Rose” for $75 without mentioning any colors. It appears that the original “Yellow Condesa Rose” name was jettisoned and the yellow became simply one color option of four. Both the 1971 publication Cybis in Retrospect and the 1978 catalog show it that way.
But just to muddy the waters, a 1973 retail price list and brochure from Armstrongs in California – one of the largest Cybis retailers at the time – offers a “Yellow Contessa Rose” and a “Pink Contessa Rose” as both being a “discontinued non-limited edition.” The misspelling of the name (“Contessa” instead of Condesa) notwithstanding, it does raise the possibility that during the first couple of years of production all of the colorways were “Condesa roses.” Or the Armstrongs’ person may have been just assuming that they were.
However, the original Yellow Condesa Rose is not exactly the same as the “yellow Rose“. Look at the leaves in the first photo; they are not the same as the thicker, rounded ones seen in the other three colorways. The stem at the upper right contains one tight and one partly-open bud; in the other colors both buds are tight. And finally, the upper section of the driftwood/branch is different in the original Yellow Condesa Rose. I have only found this one photo of an actual 1960s yellow rose so I don’t know if it eventually morphed to match the white/red/pink ones in later production.
After the retirement of all the Rose colorways in 1969, there were no individual rose pieces produced by Cybis for the next ten years. But when they did do so, it instantly generated confusion.
This yellow rose is 3.5” high x 6.5” long and was designed by Lynn Klockner Brown. The 1982 Cybis catalog lists this as having been made in 1981 and 1982 only, as Condesa Rose, Yellow. Yes, you read that correctly: the studio re-used the name “Condesa Rose” that had previously been assigned to an entirely different sculpture in the 1960s! This is the only instance I’ve seen of Cybis re-using the name of a previously retired/completed sculpture. An artists proof of this rose was given to Queen Sofia of Spain in 1980 and so the issue year shown in the catalog may be a typographical error.
To make things impossibly confusing (as if they aren’t already?) the 1980 merchandise catalog from Brielle Galleries, a major Cybis retailer, includes (with photos) the Yellow Condesa Rose and also the pink version but with the name Pink Parfait Rose instead of “Pink Condesa”! Both roses are identified as being 1980 issues and priced at $225.
Here are the yellow and pink versions together. So based on the official literature the pink one can be known as either Pink Parfait Rose or Pink Condesa Rose, while the yellow can answer to either Yellow Condesa Rose or Condesa Rose, Yellow …. take your choice, apparently. It’s probably best to differentiate the two yellows by calling them Yellow Condesa Rose, ca. 1960s, 5″ high and Yellow Condesa Rose, ca. 1980s, 3″ high respectively. But it certainly would be much easier if Cybis hadn’t re-used that name!
Rosa Alba was another sculpture only produced in 1981 and 1982. It measures 3” x 7.75”. This open edition was only available in white (Rosa alba is Latin for “white rose”) as shown in the official Cybis photo. The second photo is of a sample/proof piece that was done in pink which may be one of a kind. It has the Cybis phoenix and copyright symbol as a mold impression but was not signed; supposedly it was given to one of the artists at the studio (which did happen with pieces having slight imperfections) and thus the Cybis signature was never applied. There is no indication that a pink version of “Rosa Alba” was ever offered for retail sale. The standard white version sold for $285.
Three single rose stems designed by Lynn Klockner Brown were introduced in the spring of 1982. Two pink and one yellow, they differed only in color and size. They are impressed/signed Cybis on the back of one of the leaves; if that leaf should happen to break off, there would be nothing on the piece to identify it as Cybis. This may be why Boehm signed their single-rose pieces on the back of the rose itself!
The largest is Joy, a yellow rose blossom 2.25″ in diameter; the overall length is 4.75″. Issue price was $85.
The medium size rose is Tiffany which is 4″ long and 2″ in diameter. It sold for $75.
The smallest of the three rose stems was Pink Cameo at 3.75″ long and 1.75″ diameter, priced at $65. As can be seen by comparing the “official” Cybis stock photo with one of an actual Pink Cameo sold by the studio, the exactly position of the two leaves on any of these three rose stems can vary.
The Single Pink Rose Stem from 1982 is approximately 5.25” long. Clearly this is the same design and so the bloom diameter is probably about 4″. This is the rose that was at used First Lady Nancy Reagan’s luncheon setting as seen in the third photo. Although the date of the luncheon is unknown, it would have been sometime between 1982 and 1989. Notice that in the White House version, thorns have been added to the stem, whereas the retail versions are thornless.
This study, Love Song, combines a hybrid tea rose with a spray of forsythia. Introduced in 1984, its declared edition of 100 (at $2450) was later reduced to only 50. Although the 1984 advertisement for this piece does not show a base, at least some were produced with one. It’s also possible that the shape of the base could vary as well, although there’s no guarantee that the oval one was original to this piece (Cybis wood bases have no markings.) With the base shown in the upper photo, this sculpture 8” high; the width of the piece is 10″.
This photo shows Cybis studio director Joseph Chorlton presenting a Love Song rose to the First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson.
The final rose items date from the late 1980s or later and all were open (non-limited) editions.
The American Rose was made in yellow (as shown), white, and pink. Issued in 1987, in it sold for $495 a year later. It measures 5.5” high and 6.5” wide.
In the early 2000s the pink colorway was also offered as the Ribbon of Hope Rose (large) with the addition of an extra Mini Rose (shown below) and a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon, for $895.
Holiday Rose with Holly from 1987 is 2.5” high x 5.5” wide. Originally $295, it was $375 by 1993. This piece used the same branch-mold as the Mountain Laurel with Butterfly seen in the Flowers post.
For a short time in the early 1990s this rose was also offered as a “set” along with the Holiday Bell with Holly, seen in the Bells post, for $500 which represented a discount over their individual prices. The pair/set concept did not last long, however.
During the 2000s the Holiday Rose was also made in a pink colorway as the Ribbon of Hope Rose (medium) for $395.
The smallest Cybis rose offered as an individual sculpture was the Mini Rose at about an inch high and 3” wide for $95 each, available in a white, yellow, or pink colorway. It was first made available in the early 2000s and was supplied in a small red velvet “jewelers” type box, with the Cybis logo and trademarked phrase “Porcelains That Fire the Imagination” stamped on the inside of the lid.
The mini was also offered as the Ribbon of Hope Rose (small) by adding a pink ribbon to one leaf. Its price of $99 reflected a slight upcharge for the addition of the ribbon.
Cybis also used the Mini Rose to create a Pink Rose Stickpin as a promotional item. The lace element is fabric, not porcelain. I suspect that this was actually the first iteration of the Mini Rose and probably dates from the 1970s or 1980s, and the studio simply resurrected it in the early 2000s as the standalone mini sculpture. By the 2000s, the studio no longer had any retail partners and so there would have been no real need for a “dealer item” such as this. It certain was never in any retail Cybis listing that I have ever seen.
There was also a limited edition Rose Plaque ‘Nature’s Beauty’ issued in 1987; it appears in its own post because it represents such a departure from the studio’s previous work.
These tiny rose stems were included in a large mixed lot of assorted floral pieces in one of the 2019 studio liquidation auctions. They appear to be between 2″ and 3″ long.
The other (non-rose) Cybis flowers appear in the next post.
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