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 Dale Patrick Chihuly  (1941 - )

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Lived/Active: Washington      Known for: large scale abstract blown glass

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Dale Patrick Chihuly
An example of work by Dale Patrick Chihuly
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly became the most famous ornate glass maker of the late 20th century in America.

He received a B.A. degree from the University of Washington at Seattle and an M.F.A. in 1968 from the Rhode Island School of Design. From 1967 to 1980, he was Chairman there of the Department of Glassblowing. In 1971, he was a co-founder of the Pilchuck Glass Center in Stanwood, Washington near Seattle.

His colorful, abstract blown glass has made him nationally famous, and one of his biggest projects has likely been the thirty-five foot high, 550 foot long pedestrian bridge in Tacoma, Washington. It has five tall glass pavilions with eight- million dollars worth of Chihuly glass. He also did a chandelier in Triest that was 200 feet long, and he added some plastic to the glass to make it lighter weight.

Another unique project was in 1999 when, with the help of many workers, he constructed a 64 ton ice wall outside Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate. The ice was cut from an Alaskan artesian well and ferried to Jerusalem on container ships. Lit with multi-colored lights, the ice melted two days after completion.

Biography from
Born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington, Dale Chihuly was introduced to glass while studying interior design at the University of Washington. After graduating in 1965, Chihuly enrolled in the first glass program in the country, at the University of Wisconsin. He continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where he later established the glass program and taught for more than a decade.

In 1968, after receiving a Fulbright Fellowship, he went to work at the Venini glass factory in Venice. There he observed the team approach to blowing glass, which is critical to the way he works today. In 1971, Chihuly co-founded Pilchuck Glass School in Washington State. With this international glass center, Chihuly has led the avant-garde in the development of glass as a fine art.

His work is included in more than 200 hundred museum collections worldwide. He has been the recipient of many awards, including twelve honorary doctorates and two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Chihuly has created more than a dozen well-known series of works, among them Cylinders and Baskets in the 1970s; Seaforms, Macchia, Venetians, and Persians in the 1980s; Niijima Floats and Chandeliers in the 1990s; and Fiori in the 2000s. He is also celebrated for large architectural installations. In 1986, he was honored with a solo exhibition, Dale Chihuly objets de verre, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Palais du Louvre, in Paris. In 1995, he began Chihuly Over Venice, for which he created sculptures at glass factories in Finland, Ireland, and Mexico, then installed them over the canals and piazzas of Venice.

In 1999, Chihuly started an ambitious exhibition, Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem; more than 1 million visitors attended the Tower of David Museum to view his installations. In 2001, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London curated the exhibition Chihuly at the V&A. Chihuly’s lifelong fascination for glasshouses has grown into a series of exhibitions within botanical settings. His Garden Cycle began in 2001 at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. Chihuly exhibited at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near London, in 2005. Other major exhibition venues include the de Young Museum in San Francisco, in 2008, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in 2011. Chihuly Garden and Glass opened at Seattle Center in 2012. (Courtesy of

Biography from Jerald Melberg Gallery:
Dale Chihuly was born in 1941 in Tacoma, Washington.  He received a B.A. from the University of Washington in 1965, an M.S. from the University of Wisconsin in 1967 and an M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design in 1968.

Two Fulbright Fellowships allowed him to study the art of glassmaking in Venice.  In a city known for its glasswork as well as its canals and stunning light, Chihuly learned the art of glassblowing and that of teamwork – a crucial and integral part of his production.

In 1971 Chihuly co-founded the Pilchuck School, which has made the Northwest an epicenter of the glass world.  His work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions throughout the world, and he is one of only three Americans to have had a solo exhibition at the Louvre.

Chihuly is known for pushing the glass envelope past all imaginable limits. He broke with the tradition of symmetrical glass by designing organic-looking vessels that resemble huge clamshells or flower petals.  His work suggests movement, capturing the shape of the molten flow of the medium.  Whether regarding his small-scale blown glass works, large sculpture or site-specific installations, Chihuly creates a sense of wonder and excitement that has captured the world’s attention.

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