12428 - 20170108 - Chihuly glass returns to the Reading Public Museum - Reading, PA - 05.11.2016-08.01.2017

Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941), Laguna Murano Chandelier, 1996, glass, Courtesy of the George R. Stroemple Collection, Stroemple/Stirek Collaboration.
The Reading Public Museum is presenting Chihuly’s Venetians: The George R. Stroemple Collection, on display until Sunday, January 8, 2016. Unlike the exhibition hosted at The Museum in 2004, which showcased work from Chihuly’s studio, this exhibition features a private collection of works owned by a single collector, George R. Stroemple. The exhibition includes the master glassmaker’s spectacular Laguna Murano Chandelier and 60 luminous examples from his acclaimed Venetian series, as well as more than a dozen drawings. 
Chihuly’s Venetians were inspired by the artist’s trip to Venice in 1988. During this trip, he visited a gallery that housed an extraordinary private collection of Venetian glass that represented the pinnacle of Venetian Art Deco (1920s and 1930s). Returning to the United States, he decided to create his own versions of the classic pieces with his unique, lively twist. Collaborating with Pino Signoretto and Lino Tagliapietra, two of Italy’s finest glassmaking masters, Chihuly worked to execute his vision for these stunning pieces.

The exhibition consists of 19 Putti Venetians, spacious and ambitious vessels, each with hot-formed figurative sculptures of putti (cherubs) and mythological creatures included in the design; 9 Venetians (without putti); 42 Piccolo Venetians, the smaller but no less spirited vessels originally based on traditional Venetian themes; and 3 Bottlestoppers, monumental vessels inspired by perfume bottles.

Scott Schweigert, RPM’s curator of art and civilization promises that, “Internationally renowned glass-maker Dale Chihuly’s creations will be sure to dazzle visitors of all ages with color, light and movement.”

According to author Kathryn Kanjo, “Like their art deco prototypes, a sense of function endures in Chihuly’s Venetians. The core forms—cones, cylinders, amphorae, bowls, ginger jars—suggest familiar vessels. Yet, if vessels imply reason, Chihuly’s applied ornamentation overwhelms in an organic flourish. The symmetrical core becomes a stoic base from which feathers, leaves, and ribbons burst forth. Handles spiral into disorder; lilies entwine exterior surfaces; glass prunts transform into scalloped flames. Iridescent, foiled, layered and mottled, both the vessel and the ornament boast active ‘Chihuly’ sufaces.”