23 November 2013 till 21 March 2014

Gifted Glass

Recently, the Gemeentemuseum was thrilled to receive a splendid donation of glass to enrich its modern decorative arts collection. The undisputed highlight of the gift is a group of twenty dazzling vases by the internationally renowned Italian glass artist Lino Tagliapietra (b. 1934). The donation also includes work by star Dutch glass artists Mieke Groot (b. 1949) and Frank van den Ham (b. 1952) and pieces by American Toots Zynsky (b. 1951), who received part of her training in the Netherlands. The donors are husband-and-wife collectors Wil and José Roef-van Hest, who earlier presented the Gemeentemuseum with a number of ceramic objects by Leen Quist (b. 1942). These are now on show together with the glass.

Venetian splendour

Nine spectacular multi-coloured glass gondolas are among the Tagliapietra pieces collected over the years by Mr and Mrs Roef-van Hest. Although the couple had a glass-walled extension added to their home specifically to display these pieces in all their glory, they have now given them to the Gemeentemuseum as a ‘promised gift’ on long-term loan. The work of these four totally different glass artists represents the many faces of contemporary glass art. Whether you call what he does an art or a craft, Lino Tagliapietra’s skill in fusing traditional and contemporary design has earned him a universal reputation as one of the world’s greatest glass artists. His work is renowned for its complexity and elegance. It is also distinctive for its use of the centuries-old Venetian technique of filigree glassmaking, into which Tagliapietra has literally breathed new life.

Dutch display

Mieke Groot’s vase and pot forms are remarkable for the decorative enamel skin she applies to their exteriors. She fires the work in stages, creating cracks and tears in the structure of her objects. Van den Ham’s colourful compositions sometimes use glass in combination with other materials and reflect his fascination with the Far East and Africa. His clear or polychrome container forms are made of fused glass slumped into shape using moulds. Zynsky’s richly coloured vessels are the result of an intriguing interplay between the coloured glass threads she fuses together to produce them.

This exhibition of Gifted Glass demonstrates the enormous importance of private initiatives to the national art collections of the Netherlands. The gift concerned has substantially enriched not only the collection of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, but also the art holdings of the nation. A truly major donation.