The Kunstpalast was founded in 1913 in answer to “the ultimate vital issue for Düsseldorf”. Its history, though, reaches back to the late 17th century when it was the place for showing art collections of that time. Today, the comprehensive collection of the Kunstpalast covers objects of fine arts from classical antiquity to the present, including drawings, sculptures, graphic exhibits and photographs, applied arts and design – and one of Europe’s largest glass collections beside the Victorian and Albert Museum, London, and the Corning Museum of Glass, New York. Nearly 15.000 objects represent over 3,500 years of glass history. Düsseldorf is one of the art capitals in Germany with a famous art academy founded in the early 19th century, a lively art scene and well-known museums.
Edith and Barbara Achilles shared a passion for collecting art since the 1960s. After occasional acquisition of contemporary glass objects, the Edith Achilles began to collect systematically since the 1990s. A few years later, her daughter Barbara died. Edith Achilles decided to continue their joint work and established the Barbara Achilles Foundation. The collection included 80 objects of 40 especially Czech and Slovakian artists at that time. Until her death in 2020, Edith Achilles was able to extend to almost 300 objects and 140 artists. The selection focuses on abstract kiln-casted sculptures of intense color, large scale objects are no exception. The contemporary works are exhibited in a wonderful contrast to the historic premises of the old anatomy institute from the 19th century. I am proud that several monumental objects of the Seaform series have found their way into this collection.
A one-hour drive from Düsseldorf to the north, the Ernsting foundation can be found on a historic manor in the countryside. There, in 1996, Kurt and Lilly Ernsting formed the foundation to promote art and culture. Established from a former private collection, which was created by Lilly Ernsting in over 40 years of dedication to contemporary glass art, the Ernsting foundation now represents one of the most important collections in Europe. Several exhibitions are realized every year, one of them showing exclusively new acquisitions. Besides the well-arranged display of selected objects in the museum, a separate building, the old barn, offers all objects ever collected as a kind of “open stock”. I am very happy that several monumental objects from the Underwater World and Seaform series became part of the collection.
Amidst the natural park of Avesnois, the MusVerre is located in the French village Sars-Poteries between Paris and Brussel close to the Belgian border. The museum offers 11,000 sq ft/ 1,000 m² of exhibition space accentuated by a minimalistic, nevertheless outstanding architecture of the building. The first and the second room exhibits decorative works as well as colorful objects of regional glassmakers created between 1801 and 1937. The third space is dedicated to international artists during the 1980s and explores the influence by the studio glass movement the United States, Europe and in particular the Czechoslovak School being well-known for their optical illusions in geometric forms. A state-of-the-art workshop for research and creation complements the museum offering residencies and trainings.
St. Petersburg, Florida, USA
In 2016, Trish Duggan was determined not only to establish a new museum, but to realize her vision of a most significant collection of contemporary glass art in the world. The well-selected beginning collection of 500 objects covered the early 1960s till today. In close cooperation with Corey Hampson, the president of Habatat Galleries, the collection expanded fast to 1.000 artworks representing artists from the United States and all over the world. With its dedication to comprehensiveness and creativity, the Imagine museum offers experiences that inspire and educate. Just a 30 min drive from Tampa, the museum is located directly on the Gulf coast.
Seven Bridges Foundation
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA
In 1993, the Seven Bridges Foundation was founded by Richard Mc Kenzie as a non-profit organisation to support living and emerging artists. The collection comprises paintings, sculpture, and photography. 80 acres of land in the New England countryside close to Greenwich, Connecticut, harbour an outdoor sculpture collection and two galleries. The outdoor collection offers more than 100 objects in a beautiful and serene ensemble with plants and landscape. The first gallery of 12,000 sq ft/ 1,100 m² focuses on traditional art and techniques, like oil on canvas, bronze and stone. To show masters next to their contemporaries, the second gallery of 16,000 sq ft/ 1500 m² is dedicated to contemporary art of wide techniques and materials. The foundation’s entire glass art collection can be found here. According to the Foundation, a third gallery might be in planning.