Published: December 14, 2004
More than 200 glass artworks from the furnaces on the island of Murano will illuminate the galleries of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) in the exhibition “Murano: Glass from the Olnick Spanu Collection,” December 12 to February 27.
Murano glass is prized for contemporary elegance, radical design and craftsmanship and the works shown are drawn exclusively from the collection of Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu and curated by Venetian-born glass scholar and historian Marino Barovier.
The North American tour of the exhibition offers a comprehensive look at works from 1914 to 2002 by the most highly regarded artists and designers from the Murano workshops.
Pieces from the early to mid 1900s by artists including Carlo Scarpa, Paolo Venini Thomas Stearns, and Vittorio Zecchin will be on view along with contemporary works by such artists as Cristiano Bianchin, Laura Diaz de Santillana, Lino Tagliapietra and Giogio Vigna. This juxtaposition will provide and understanding of the evolution of the art of glassmaking in Murano.
Exclusively in Detroit, the exhibition will be supplemented with “Detroit Collects Murano Glass,” an exhibition of approximately 20 objects of Murano glass from local collectors. Included are several pieces of vintage Murano glass from the 1950s and 60s with works from noted artist Fulvio Bianconi, as well as works from contemporary artists such as Yoichi Ohira.
New York collectors Olnick and Spanu started acquiring glass in the 1980s, with their first purchase, “Clessidre,” a green and blue hourglass case designed by Paolo Venini. Since then, the Olnick Spanu collection of Twentieth Century Murano glass has grown to almost 500 objects.
A 312-page catalog, edited by Susan Sacks and photographed by Luca Vignelli, is available in soft cover for $45. To order, www.dia.org.
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