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Silvered Plum Venetian with Flowers, 2010, 19 x 14 x 16"

An eclectic take on classics

An unlikely marriage of formality and unrestrained exuberance, Venetians began as an experiment by Chihuly and Italian maestro glassblower Lino Tagliapietra. At the core of the Venetians is a classical vessel, with wildly flamboyant attachments like snaky handles, leaves, and twisted coils and ribbons.

Gold Venetian with Amethyst Flowers, 2010, 15 x 17 x 14"

Silvered Glowing Ruby Piccolo Venetian with Gilded Lapis Leaves, 2009, 16 x 8 x 7"

Silvered Royal Gold Venetian with Handles, 2009, 10 x 9 x 9"

Gilded Magenta Piccolo Venetian with Chartreuse Prunts, 2000, 16 x 4 x 4"

Silvered Venetian with Clear Sawtooth Leaves, 2010, 30 x 24 x 9"

White Venetian, 2011, 34 x 12 x 11"


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I started the series with the simple idea of replicating these strange Art Deco vases, but I hoped that it would go somewhere else, somewhere bizarre.”


Martin Blank, Lino Tagliapietra, Chihuly, and Benjamin Moore, Van de Kamp Building, Seattle, 1988

Tradition with a twist

Inspired by Italian glass of the Art Deco period, Chihuly teamed up with Italian maestro glassblower Lino Tagliapietra. He wanted to take traditional methods to another level, seeing what serendipity might come with the addition of free-spirited spontaneity.

Dale Chihuly, California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California, 1989

Daydreaming on paper

Chihuly typically drew what he wanted Tagliapietra to create, starting with watercolor and graphite sketches of classical forms with several handles. When he switched to charcoal, the drawings became bolder and the pieces more extreme: “Handles changed to knots, prunts became claws, colors went from subtle to bright, and forms from symmetrical to asymmetrical.”


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