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Art Review: Wichita Art Museum's Exceptional Glass Collection

Permission given by the Wichita Art Museum.

The Wichita Art Museum’s permanent collection has strong holdings in Early Modernism from the United States, with notable artists such as: Edward Hopper, Arthur Dove, John Singleton Copley and Mary Cassatt. But did you know it also has an exceptional collection of American glass?

The majority of the glass holdings are Steuben Glass - a pinnacle of American artisanship. Steuben Glass was founded in 1903 and produced high-end decorative glass for over one hundred years, until its closing in 2012.

Credit Permission given by the Wichita Art Museum.

In its early years, Steuben glass was heavily influenced by Art Nouveau – an art movement known for its sinuous line work and sumptuous organic details. Several of these works were designed by the co-founder and chief designer Frederick C. Carder. He’s credited for developing the Aurene line of iridescent glass – a direct rival to Tiffany – and there are prime examples of his work in the collection.

But it’s not just vintage glassworks on display…they also have contemporary pieces like Kiki Smith’s Tattoo Vase from 2007 and two massive signature pieces by Dale Chihuly which are visitor favorites.

The Wichita Art Museum will open a show this Saturday called Australian Glass Art, American Links and it’s organized by the Museum of Glass. This show boasts about 90 works of stunning color, form, and technical acumen. Playing to the strengths of WAM’s permanent collection, this contemporary glass art show should be popular – and fun.