Where: Spencer Museum of Contemporary Art, Lawrence, Kansas
Its “exuberant extravagance” is why it’s so popular, says Susan Earle, Spencer curator of European and American art, and it would be difficult to disagree.
Dale Chihuly’s Violet Persian with Red Lip Wraps is composed of 20 individual pieces that have to be carefully set together each time the object is displayed. It was crafted in Chihuly’s Seattle studio in 1990 by his regular team of glassblowers. After its debut at the Leedy Voulkos Gallery in Kansas City, the Spencer Museum purchased it for its permanent collection – its first Chihuly.
“Violet” is part of the “Persian” series, which was inspired by a painting he had seen in Venice. Chihuly has said that the Persian series was developed from Roman, Byzantine and Islamic glass-making traditions. Design-wise, they are usually marked by stripes and a contrasting border the artist calls a “lip wrap.”
“It uses color in wonderful ways, drawing you in to the complexity of its form and ideas,” says Earle. “I like the piece because it is so rich and exuberant.”
Chihuly was educated at the Rhode Island School of Design and was awarded a Fulbright grant to study glass in Venice. A pioneer in the studio glass movement, he founded the Pilchuck School of Glassmaking near Seattle in 1970.