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Presenting the Artist: Dale Chihuly

Posted on 11/22/2017

Dale ChihulyChihuly at Biltmore, the first art exhibition in the estate's historic gardens, premieres May 17, 2018. As preparation continues around the estate for this significant exhibition, we would like to share more information about the artist and his worldwide influence.

Dale Chihuly is an American artist known for revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement and elevating the perception of the glass medium from the realm of craft to fine art. Acclaimed for his iconic glass sculptures, Chihuly is also known for ambitious and immersive site-specific public installations and exhibitions in museums and gardens around the world, and his work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and 12 honorary degrees.

Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.

In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly cofounded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.Crystal Bridges

Chihuly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, among them, Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Persians, and Venetians in the 1980s; Niijima Floats and Chandeliers in the 1990s; and Fiori in the 2000s. He is also celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1986, he was honored with a solo exhibition, Dale Chihuly objets de verre, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, in Paris. In 1995, he began Chihuly Over Venice, for which he created sculptures at glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, then installed them over the canals and piazzas of Venice.

In 1999, Chihuly started an ambitious exhibition, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than 1 million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London curated the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A. Chihuly’s lifelong fascination for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. The Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory, in Chicago, and continued at several locations, among them the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, in 2005, and the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx, in 2006 and again in 2017. Meanwhile, Chihuly has exhibited at other venues as well, including the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2008; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, in 2012; the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in 2013; the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, in 2016; and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, in 2017. In addition, Chihuly Garden and Glass, a major long-term exhibition, opened at Seattle Center in 2012.

Learn more about our upcoming exhibition Chihuly at BiltmoreChihuly Red Reeds

Photos

Top:  

Dale Chihuly 
Cheekwood Reflection Pool, 2010 
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art, Nashville, Tennessee 
Copyright ©Chihuly Studio

Right: 

Dale Chihuly 
Photo courtesy of Chihuly Studio 
Copyright ©Chihuly Studio

Left: 

Dale Chihuly 
Sole d'Oro, 2017 
13 1/2 x 14 x 14', Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas 
Copyright ©Chihuly Studio

Bottom:

Dale Chihuly 
Red Reeds, 2008 
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Michigan, installed 2010 
Copyright ©Chihuly Studio

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