Toledo Museum of Art – New installation showcase in glassmaking progress now on show

A new installation that refreshes the historical display of glass starting in the late 18th-century to present day is currently on view in the Toledo Museum of Art’s (TMA) Glass Pavilion

More than 130 objects from the Museum’s permanent glass collection, including several recent acquisitions, are on view in Glass Pavilion. A handful of decorative arts including furniture and silver are included as well, giving context to glass from different periods of time. For the first time a hand-operated glass press, on loan from The Henry Ford, is on display to complement TMA’s extensive holdings of early American pressed glass.

The installation illustrates a progression in the history of glass in the United States and Europe through the selection of work ranging from 19th-century and mid-century modernism to studio and contemporary glass.

Diane C. Wright, curator of glass and decorative arts right explains that in 1962, a series of workshops in which participants experimented with glass as an art medium outside of the factory setting took place on the Museum’s grounds, which launched the Studio Glass Movement. A selection of rare vessels from the first Toledo workshops will be on display, along with work by those who played an integral role in expanding the artistic potential for the medium.

Today, artists are reaching back to traditional methods and production styles to create innovative work in glass. This practice is exemplified in Grotto of the Chocolate Nymph, a new acquisition by the Philadelphia-based glass artist, Amber Cowan.

Her elaborate grotto composition is characterized by exceptional repurposing of scrap glass (cullet) and the reuse of historic pressed glass.

Other new acquisitions on view for first time include the Trapèze Table–Table de Conférence, designed by Jean Prouvé in 1955/1956, Pieneza  by Toots Zynsky (2017), Stine Bidstrup’s Object No. 23 from her Architectural Fantasy series (2018), and a figurine, Melite (1924), by René Lalique, originally designed for the 1925 Paris Exposition  The overall display seeks to connect glass making traditions across time to the present day.