The terms “art glass” and “glass art” are sometimes used interchangeability; we prefer the term fine glass art. Wikipedia describes it this way:
In general the term is restricted to relatively modern pieces made by people who see themselves as artists who have chosen to work in the medium of glass and both design and make their own pieces as fine art, rather than traditional glassworker craftsmen, who often produce pieces designed by others…
Artists working in glass sculpture have struggled to gain acceptance for their work as fine art. This is largely due to the long history of beautiful functional or mass produced objects. No matter how well crafted, most people agree that our grandparent’s ornate Venetian goblets are not fine art. What about a Louise Comfort Tiffany vase? Or a piece of Murano Glass from the famous Barovier and Toso factory? In considering what is fine art glass, we make three important distinctions :
Fine Art Glass is Conceived and Executed by The Artist
Andy Warhol was a prolific print artist that struggled for acceptance, even in his prime. This was partly because it was widely known that the level of his direct engagement with his work varied widely. Questions have been raised recently about inherent quality and value of Chihuly pieces for similar reasons. Warhol and Chihuly are now broadly recognized as quite original. However, questions remain as to whether specific pieces qualify as fine art, even today. By contrast, artists such as Ben Tullman or Valentina execute their pieces from conception to completion.
Fine Art Glass Is Unique or Part of a Limited Series
No two pieces of hand-blown glass are truly identical. However, if the “artist” in question has made countless versions of the piece you love, the prior production detracts from the value of the work as fine art. A salesman in a world famous gallery once related a story to us about a Rosin piece. The customer dropped and broke it while admiring it. The gallery was willing to overlook the matter and sell them a different piece, but the customer had their heart set on that piece. A virtually identical piece was delivered in minutes after calling the studio to see what was possible. Is that fine art or production work, not unlike a beautiful production goblet?
Fine Art Glass Has Concept
Producing fine glass objects is difficult. The small pool of artists that can do the work tends to focus us more on the glass and less on the art. Quite a bit of fine glass art is abstract. However, like all fine art, it benefits from some defining concept. For instance, the work of Alexis Silk demonstrates a strong sense of concept. On every level, it enhances the value of the pieces.
We contend that fine glass art is deliberately conceived. The artist executes the and it is not “production work” for them. Are your glass art pieces “fine art”?