Poster Size: 22" x 28"
Expanding the limits of glass as an art medium in the 1970s and 1980s, Harvey Littleton focused on sculptural forms. Describing his Crown series in 1978, he wrote, "in search of color in glass sculptures, I went to multiple cased overlays holding the forms to simple geometry." Blue/Ruby Spray typifies this concept. Separate elements combine to form a whole—a crownlike structure with a central core of arched elements surrounded by smaller pieces. Even the sculptural spaces, or voids, are integral to the object's aesthetic. The Euclidean purity of Spray expresses both Littleton's technical background and his interest in forming large glass works with dramatic presence.
In 1962 Littleton was instrumental in a remarkable event that jump-started what became the American studio glass movement: the Toledo Workshops. Then a ceramics instructor at the University of Wisconsin, Littleton wanted to explore hot-blown glassworking in a small studio setting, rather than a factory. Otto Wittmann, then Director of the Toledo Museum of Art, invited Littleton to use the resources of the Museum for an experimental glassblowing workshop. A garage on the Museum grounds served as the location, and with the invaluable technical help of retired local glassblower Harvey Leafgreen and of Dominick Labino (see 1970.449), Littleton's experiments proved successful.
Littleton soon became an evangelist of studio glass, whose mission was to promote glassblowing as a studio art activity. In his landmark book, Glassblowing: A Search for Form (1971), Littleton made a statement that was radical for its time: that studio glass was an appropriate medium for artistic expression. The comment struck a chord in many artists, and had a broad impact among glassmakers across the United States.
Harvey Littleton (American, born 1922), Blue/Ruby Spray. Glass, blown, with multiple cased overlays, 1990. Largest of the parts: H. 17 in. (48.1 cm). Partial gift of Ross E. Lucke in memory of Betty S. Lucke, by exchange, and partial purchase with funds from the Libbey Endowment, Gift of Edward Drummond Libbey, 1992.41. © 1990 Harvey Littleton. Photo Credit: Richard Goodbody, New York. © Toledo Museum of Art