In March of 1962, a seismic shift occurred in the creation of art glass with a workshop led by American glass artists Harvey Littleton (1922–2013) and Dominick Labino (1910–1987) at the Toledo Museum of Art. During this workshop, they introduced advances in technology that enabled glass artists to work independently on a smaller scale instead of requiring the assistance of skilled teams of workers in a factory setting. This allowed individual artists to work in innovative ways and launched the American Studio Glass movement. Since that time, Studio Glass has continued to flourish, particularly in the American Northwest.
For the last 25 years, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts has collected and interpreted art created by studio glass makers. Our collection began with the acquisition of an exquisite vessel by Sonja Blomdahl (American, born 1952) and in 2007 we organized a comprehensive exhibition of her work. Several other pieces also entered the collection through exhibitions organized by the Museum including sculptural glass by Stephen Rolfe Powell (American, born 1951), Ginny Ruffner (American, born 1952), Cappy Thompson (American, born 1952), and most recently, Lino Tagliapietra (Italian, born 1934). We continue to seek out works by masters of glass to provide a full picture of the Studio Glass movement, adding important acquisitions such as Orange Triple Movement (pictured above), 1983, by Harvey Littleton, the man internationally recognized as the “Father of the Studio Glass movement.” His inventive and elegant layers of flowing color and light in glass joins equally innovative and breathtaking works by other influential artists such as Dale Chihuly (American, born 1941), Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace (American, born 1952 and 1949), and Dante Marioni (American, born 1964), among others.
The Museum’s collection illustrates the breadth and depth of the changing landscape of art glass, showcasing the creativity and vision of the many artists working with this challenging material. With the reinstallation of its collection, we hope to bring attention and appreciation to the accomplishments of the leading artists involved in the Studio Glass movement.
Harvey K. Littleton (American, 1922–2013), Orange Triple Movement, 1983, from the series Topological Geometry, free-blown glass, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts Association Purchase, Decorative Arts Fund, 2014.2.2