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b. 1941, United States

Dale Chihuly Biography

Over the course of his career, American glass artist and entrepreneur, Dale Chihuly has revolutionised the art of blown glass, moving it into the realm of large-scale sculpture and establishing the use of glass—an inherently fragile material—as a vehicle for installation and environmental art.

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Early Years

Dale Patrick Chihuly was born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington. He began experimenting with glassblowing in 1965 after graduating from the University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in interior design. In 1966, he received a scholarship to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he studied under Harvey Littleton, who established the first-ever glass program in the US. Chihuly received a Master of Science degree in sculpture in 1967 and, in 1968, he went to work at a glass factory in Venice after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, where he observed the team approach to glassblowing that has become a key part of how he works today.

In 1968, Chihuly earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade and, in 1971, with support from John and Anne Gould Hauberg, he co-founded the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington.

Dale Chihuly Artworks

As early as 1967, Chihuly was using neon, argon, and blown glass forms to create room-sized installations. Although his work ranges from single vessels inspired by organic forms to monumental chandeliers with dozens of curling glass arms, he is best known for his multipart blown compositions.

Featured in many of his most dramatic installations—like the sunset-toned Monarch Window (1994) in Union Station, Washington, or the nine-metre-long pendant of intricate blue-green Temperate House Persians (2019), installed in London's Royal Botanic Gardens—Chihuly's dynamic, asymmetrical Persians stand out as explorations of form, shape, and colour, while his deceptively simple Cylinders exemplify his commitment to consistently refining his technique.

Using his revolutionary 'pick-up drawing' technique—which involves pulling glass threads, laying them out in intricate designs, and rolling molten glass over them—Chihuly has created an ever-evolving range of Cylinders that have allowed him to integrate a wide range of motifs. These include patterns inspired by Native American textiles, evident in his early Navajo Blanket Cylinders (1979).

Chihuly's works are united by an emphasis on light; colour; flowing, curvilinear forms; and their captivating, otherworldly quality. He employs an expansive interdisciplinary team that includes glassblowers, painting assistants, carpenters, and metal fabricators to help him achieve these works, as the artist has been unable to blow glass himself since 1979 when he dislocated his right shoulder while bodysurfing.

Exhibitions

Permanent exhibitions of Dale Chihuly's work include The Chihuly Sanctuary, Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, Omaha, Nebraska (2017—ongoing); The Chihuly Collection, Morean Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Florida (2017—ongoing); Glass Garden, Toyama Glass Art Museum, Toyama, Japan (2015—ongoing); Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle (2012—present); Dale Chihuly: Magic and Light, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Oklahoma City (2002—present); and Dale Chihuly Collection, Tacoma Art Museum (1987—present).

Collections

Chihuly's work belongs in the collections of more than 200 museums worldwide, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. His lifelong fascination for glasshouses resulted in a series of exhibitions in botanical settings; notably the Garden Cycle, Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago, USA (2001); the Royal Botanic Gardens, London, UK (2005); and the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, (2006 and 2017).

Website

Dale Chihuly' website can be found here.

Fay Janet Jackson | Ocula | 2022

Dale Chihuly
featured artworks

Rotolo 84 by Dale Chihuly contemporary artwork sculpture
Dale Chihuly Rotolo 84, 2018 Glass
119 x 46 x 38 cm
Whitestone Gallery Request Price & Availability
Ikebana Glass on Glass by Dale Chihuly contemporary artwork sculpture
Dale Chihuly Ikebana Glass on Glass, 2017 Glass
107 x 81 x 18 cm
Whitestone Gallery Request Price & Availability

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Whitestone Gallery contemporary art gallery in Taipei, Taiwan
Whitestone Gallery Hong Kong, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei +2
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