The wonderful world of artist Dale Chihuly

March 2009


Dale Chihuly. 'Palazzo Ducale Chandelier' 1998


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Palazzo Ducale Chandelier



Visit the Dale Chihuly website and click on the “Work” link to see a truly remarkable artist at work!


Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Dale Chihuly is most frequently lauded for revolutionising the Studio Glass movement by expanding its original premise of the solitary artist working in a studio environment to encompass the notion of collaborative teams and a division of labor within the creative process.  However, Chihuly’s contribution extends well beyond the boundaries both of this movement and even the field of glass: his achievements have influenced contemporary art in general. Chihuly’s practice of using teams has led to the development of complex, multipart sculptures of dramatic beauty that place him in the leadership role of moving blown glass out of the confines of the small, precious object and into the realm of large-scale contemporary sculpture. In fact, Chihuly deserves credit for establishing the blown glass form as an accepted vehicle for installation and environmental art beginning in the late twentieth century and continuing today.

Stylistically over the past forty years, Chihuly’s sculptures in glass have explored colour, line, and assemblage. Although his work ranges from the single vessel to indoor/outdoor site-specific installations, he is best known for his multipart blown compositions. These works fall into the categories of mini-environments designed for the tabletop as well as large, often serialised forms that are innovatively displayed in groupings on a wide variety of surfaces ranging from pedestals to bodies of natural water. Masses of these blown forms also have been affixed to specially engineered structures that dominate large exterior or interior spaces.

Over the years Chihuly and his teams have created a wide vocabulary of blown forms, revisiting and refining earlier shapes while at the same time creating exciting new elements, such as his Fiori, all of which demonstrate mastery and understanding of glassblowing techniques.  Earlier forms, such as the Baskets, Seaforms, Ikebana, Venetians, and Chandeliers, from the late 1970s through the 1990s have been augmented since the early to mid-1990s with new blown elements. Chihuly and his teams primarily developed these while working in glass factories in France, Finland, Ireland, and Mexico. The resulting Reeds, Saguaros, Herons, Belugas, Seal Pups, and other forms are now juxtaposed with the earlier series, including Macchia, Niijima Floats, and Persians in lively new contexts.

“Since the early 1980s, all of Chihuly’s work has been marked by intense, vibrant colour and by subtle linear decoration. At first he achieved patterns by fusing into the surface of his vessels “drawings” composed of prearranged glass threads; he then had his forms blown in optic moulds, which created ribbed motifs. He also explored in the Macchia series bold, colourful lip wraps that contrasted sharply with the brilliant colours of his vessels. Finally, beginning with the Venetians of the early 1990s, elongated, linear blown forms, a product of the glassblowing process, have become part of his vocabulary, resulting in highly baroque, writhing elements. In recent years Chihuly has experimented with Polyvitro to create new interpretations of some of his glass forms.

Davira S. Taragin on the Dale Chihuly website


Dale Chihuly. 'Chiostro di Sant'apollonia Chandelier' 1996


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Chiostro di Sant’apollonia Chandelier


Dale Chihuly. 'Chiostro di Sant'apollonia Chandelier' (detail) 1996


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
The artist with his Chiostro di Sant’apollonia Chandelier (detail)


Dale Chihuly. 'Colorado Springs Fountain' installation 2005


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Colorado Springs Fountain
installation 2005


Dale Chihuly. 'Basket Forest' 2005


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Basket Forest


Dale Chihuly. 'Macchia Forest' 2004


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Macchia Forest


Dale Chihuly. 'Ponti Duodo e Barbarigo Chandelier' 1998


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Ponti Duodo e Barbarigo Chandelier


Dale Chihuly. 'Saffron Tower' 2008


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Saffron Tower


Dale Chihuly. 'Saffron Tower' 2008


Dale Chihuly (American, b. 1941)
Saffron Tower



Dale Chihuly website


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3 Responses to “The wonderful world of artist Dale Chihuly”

  1. 1 Scott
    June 9, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Uh. Although the page title says “Dale Chihuly”, why do all of the image captions say “Dave”?

    Great images anyway. Caught his exhibition at the 2002 Winter Olympics. UNBELIEVABLE!

  2. November 3, 2009 at 6:52 am

    Incomparable! Bellessimo!

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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