Corning

The first director of the Corning Museum of Glass, Thomas Buechner, has received the 2006 Service to the Field Award from glass studio and school UrbanGlass in New York City.
The 80-year-old artist a…

The first director of the Corning Museum of Glass, Thomas Buechner, has received the 2006 Service to the Field Award from glass studio and school UrbanGlass in New York City. The 80-year-old artist and former president of Steuben Glass was honored at the UrbanGlass awards dinner in New York City. Other awards went to Jiri Harcuba, lifetime achievement; Hank Murta Adams, outstanding achievement; Beth Lipman, new talent; and Riedel Glas Austria, achievement in glass design. Carl Pforzheimer, a trustee of UrbanGlass and the Corning Museum of Glass, cited Buechner“s early interest in studio glass as one of his major contributions. “In the early days, Tom acquired studio glass art when it had not yet became as popular as it is now to do so”, Pforzheimer said. “He set up an area in The Corning Glass Center store to sell the works of studio glass artists”. Buechner also helped the spread of glass knowledge by setting up the Journal of Glass Studies and New Glass Review and by writing the article on glass for the Encyclopedia Brittanica, Pforzheimer said. Founded in 1977, Brooklyn-based UrbanGlass serves as the primary work location for 350 artists a year. A colleague said Buechner“s legacy at the Corning Museum of Glass is a commitment to excellence: “He had very high standards, and he held us to high standards”, said Jane Shadel Spillman, curator of American glass. “In a whole variety of ways, he has influenced our museum for the better”. Ms. Spillman said Buechner coordinated major exhibits of the work of Galle and Tiffany and launched a continuing project to publish the museum“s entire collection in a 10-volume set. Ms. Spillman said Buechner“s successor as museum director, Paul N. Perrot, was recently cited as one of the top 100 “museum champions” of the past 100 years by the American Association of Museums. “I think it“s kind of significant that our first two directors have been recognized by their peers as two of the top people in the field”, Spillman said. Mr. Buechner was director of the Corning Museum of Glass from 1950 to 1960. From 1960 to 1971, he headed the Brooklyn Museum. In 1972, he became president of Steuben Glass, chairman of the Corning Glass Works Foundation and president of the Corning Museum of Glass. A successful portrait, landscape and still-life painter, Buechner serves as a trustee of the Corning Museum of Glass and as a consultant to Corning Inc. He said he was surprised to be honored. “It was very thoughtful and very generous of them to honor me”, he said. “I“ve known them and admired that organization for many, many years. It was much appreciated”. The award was accompanied by a specially commissioned piece made by glass artist Dan Dailey. “He“s a very gifted artist”, Buechner said.