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Ed Burak has pieces displayed at the American Craft Museum and the Museum of Modern Art. Born in the Bronx, New York in 1940. He had a scholarship to the School of Visual Arts and has also been a painter. In 1966 he began working with Paul Fisher in New York City, whom he stayed with for 5 years. He also worked for Wally Frank as a pipe designer. In 1968 he bought the Connoisseur Pipe Shop, where he was able to concentrate on his own designs. Ed designs and finishes the pipes, which are most often made by others, notably Jobey, Weber, and Paul Perri. Most are stamped Connoisseur E. Burak.
In an article, called Go West, which originally appeared in the French Pipe Mag, Erwin Van Hove has this to say about the dramatic influence Ed Burak has had on the American Pipe making scene:
"Artist and pipe smoker Ed Burak walked into the New York shop of Austrian born Paul Fischer to have his meerschaum repaired. They fraternized and Burak ended up as an apprentice in the workshop of this meerschaum manufacturer. He was later engaged by Wally Frank, where he designed pipes for that popular brand. Then, In 1968, he took over New York’s Connoisseur Pipe Shop. It was there that he revolutionized the American pipe. Not as a pipe maker, but as a designer. There are obvious striking similarities between Burak and the mythical Italian pipe pope Alberto Paronelli. Like Paronelli, Ed Burak focuses on creating pipes on paper, but for the execution in briar of his designs he engages mercenary hands. From the start his designs have astounded. He relegated the notion of the pipe as a mere smoking tool, utilitarian and boring, to the attic. Under his guidance the pipe was transformed into an object of art, collection, and passion. As refined and sensual sculptures, his pipes ended up in museum exhibits. And what’s more, the Connoisseurs of Burak opened the eyes of both the collectors and his colleagues : an American made pipe was not condemned to be mediocre and cheap, lacking personality and beauty. It could be original, innovative and seductive. Last but not least, the success of his enterprise demonstrated that there existed a niche for higher end pipes stamped Made in U.S.A.!"
Connoisseur Pipe Shop 1285 Ave Of The Americas New York, NY 10019-6031 Phone: (212) 247-6054