A major exhibition Czech Glass 1945—1980 has been taking place in the Danish town of Kolding in Jutland until the beginning of next year. Its opening was attended by official guests headed by the Director of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, Mrs. Helena Koenigsmarková, and the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Denmark, Mr. Ivan Jančárek.
The collection of modern glass in the Koldinghus Museum forms a remarkable contrast to the impressive environment of the wing of the castle, which burnt out during the Napoleonic wars and has not been covered by a roof until recently. Its three floors of an open space surrounded by red brick walls with traces of the ancient fire host over 359 exhibits. The exhibition has been prepared by the expert for Czech glass, Dr. Helmut Ricke from Düsseldorf, who followed in particular from the hitherto unpublished collection of Czech glass owned by the foundation Steinberg from Liechtenstein. This foundation collected it in the 1980s by direct purchases from studios of 46 artists. Even glass theorists will be surprised by the number of almost unknown works by the pioneer generation of studio glass. The selection of works of painterly or, as the case may be, sculptural character is limited by the date of birth of the artists prior to 1940. Therefore the exhibition deals mainly with two generations, which studied in the Glass Departments of Professors Jaroslav Holeček, Josef Kaplický and Karel Štipl at the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design. As a symbol of the exhibition the Danish organizers have chosen a painted vase by Bohumil Eliáš of 1960.
The comprehensive publication accompanying the exhibition has been compiled by a team of experts from Germany, USA and the Czech Republic (Susanne K. Frantz, Tina Olknow, Verena Wasmuth, Antonín Langhamer, Jan Mergl, Oldřich Palata and Milan Hlaveš) under the leadership of Helmut Ricke. It features, among other things, a comparison of the realized glass pieces and their designs in drawing. The drawings from the Museum in Corning seem to be the greatest contribution of the whole project to the knowledge and understanding of the principal role which Czech artists had played in modern history of artistic glass. Their works drew from progressive abstract currents in fine arts, which in particular in the 1950s were not officially accepted in former Czechoslovakia. Glass became a medium which helped to pass these tendencies over the border of the then politically divided world.
Exhibits for the exhibition have been lent by the above-mentioned foundation Steinberg as well as the Museum Kunst Palast – Glasmuseum Hentrich in Düsseldorf, North-Bohemian Museum in Liberec, Glass Museums in Kamenický Šenov and Nový Bor and several artists. Almost one third of the items have been provided by the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, which also arranged for the installation of the exhibition in Denmark. This show was installed last year and this year in various forms, and met with a favorable response in Düsseldorf in Germany, in the USA in Glass Museums in Corning, New York, and Tacoma near Seattle, Washington. In the spring next year it will be seen by the Czech public in the National Gallery at the Trade-Fair Palace in Prague.