See over 70 glass works and drawings from the series that began in imitation of traditional style and quickly evolved into Chihuly’s own expression. Vessels from the Stroemple Collection include the Putti Venetians, Venetians (without Putti), Piccolo Venetians, and Bottlestoppers. Also on display are a selection of Chihuly’s drawings of Venetians, evidence of his creative process as he conceived the Venetian designs. In all of the Venetians—called by American art critic, Donald Kuspit a “toast to life”— Chihuly achieves his most resplendently baroque work, with blazing color, coiled tendrils, overblown flora and impish putti. The spectacular five-piece Laguna Murano Chandelier from the collection is a triumph of technical expertise and breath-taking beauty. Each of the five pieces, spouts gold and bronze tendrils, seaweed, sea creatures, mermaids and representations of Poseidon himself.
In 1988, twenty years after Dale Chihuly was a Fulbright Fellow at the Venini glass factory, the artist returned to Venice. During this trip, he visited a palazzo that houses an extraordinary private collection of Venetian glass, mostly Art Deco-era examples blown for the Venini glass house, that exemplified the apogee of Venetian glass art. Intrigued by these astonishing and wildly inventive pieces from the 1920s and 1930s, Chihuly determined that he would design his own versions of “Venetians.” The following summer, he invited Lino Tagliapietra to work with him as a gaffer—and thus, one of Chihuly’s most daring and controversial series was born.