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Chihuly’s Grand Stairwell Installation comprises 70 red, orange, and yellow exotic glass forms, known as Persians, in a composition which covers the three walls of the 12-metre-high stairwell. The installation can be seen from the museum’s different floors as well as from the staircase. Audience members quickly expressed a wish that the museum would purchase the work. The Groninger Museum is delighted and proud to have obtained sufficient support to make that wish come true.
Dale Chihuly about Grand Stairwell Installation
“Presenting my solo exhibition, CHIHULY, at the Groninger Museum was a major honor. Not only was it my largest exhibition ever in a European museum and an opportunity to share my work with an entirely new audience, but the institution’s aesthetic itself is so inspiring. I love its colorful and interesting spaces – the result of an architectural collaboration led by Alessandro Mendini – and I’m pleased to know that my Grand Stairwell Installation will have a permanent home in this space that I so admire.”
The Groninger Museum hosted Dale Chihuly’s largest major European exhibition in winter 2018/19. Deemed “bold” by the daily national newspaper NRC, the show met with unprecedented success, drawing 156,000 enthusiastic visitors. One of the exhibition’s highlights was a large installation designed for the museum’s staircase.
Chihuly understands the power of architecture and how each line, colour, and form interacts with a space to play a part in an installation’s overall success. Never before has the stairwell area been used to such impressive effect. The Groninger Museum’s collection is rich in technically advanced, exuberant works in which artists challenge the boundaries of their disciplines. The Grand Stairwell Installation continues this tradition and will remain on permanent display. It harmonises with François Morellet’s neon installation in the foyer and the interiors designed by Studio Job, Jaime Hayon, and Maarten Baas. Chihuly’s work adds a new dimension to a colourful, eccentric building.
Dale Chihuly is an American artist noted for revolutionizing the studio glass movement and elevating perceptions of the glass medium. Known for ambitious architectural installations in cities, museums, and gardens around the world, Chihuly utilizes a variety of media to realize his creative vision, including glass, paint, charcoal, neon, ice, and Polyvitro. Chihuly’s work is included in more than 200 museum collections worldwide, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum and Corning Museum of Glass. Major exhibitions include Chihuly Over Venice (1995-96), Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem (1999), de Young Museum in San Francisco (2008), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2011), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (2012), Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Canada (2013), Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada (2016), Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2017), Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands (2018), and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, U.K (2019). Chihuly Garden and Glass, a long-term exhibition located at the Seattle Center, opened in 2012.
Featured in many of Chihuly’s most dramatic installations, Persians arose out of an exploration of form and colour. The series’ asymmetric and swirling forms evoke an ancient sensibility and when grouped together, form a mysterious, enchanting whole. Originally presented on pedestals, the series’ dramatic compositions have evolved to include large-scale installations mounted on walls, overhead in ceilings, and assembled together in the form of chandeliers and towers.
The work’s purchase would not have been possible without the support of foundations and private donors. On behalf of the public, the museum thanks the following sponsors: the Vereniging Rembrandt, partly via its Titus Fonds, its Themafonds Glas its Innorosa Fonds, its Groninger Fonds,; the Mondriaan Fund; the De Marees van Swinderen-de Blocq van Scheltinga bequest; the Van Os-Van Calcar bequest; the Groninger Museum Salon; the BankGiro Loterij; Reineke Bennema & Willem Bok; and Het Singeldorp.