Collection of Czech glass works on display in Venice

Václav Cigler, Blue Pyramid, 2020. Cut and polished light blue optical glass. h 26.5 × 31 × 29 cm. Collection of the artist. © Vaclav Cigler, by SIAE 2023

A unique exhibit of Czech glass artworks called Bohemian Glass: The Great Masters, is on display now at the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, Italy. The display features the art of six Czech glassmakers and the work of Czech photographer Josef Sudek. I caught up with the curator of the program, Caterina Tognon, and started by asking her why there was an exhibition about Czech glass in Venice:

“I really wanted an exhibition about Czech glass in Venice, because the use of glass in art in the Czech Republic is so different than in Venice. There is a huge difference in the way artists in Czechia use glass. It’s very interesting to put the two ways of using glass in media and art as a confrontation.”

Can you tell me about the exhibition and what it features?

“The exhibition is presenting six glass artists and one photographer. For each of them, it’s organized as little solo shows. The exhibition features everything from little objects, to huge sculptures that are more than two meters high.”

Who is the exhibition in collaboration with? Are there any Czech partners involved?

“Yes, the main partner is the Museum of Applied Art in the Czech Republic. We chose the main museum in Prague as our main partner, and the museum gave us many pieces that were otherwise impossible to find.

Cover of Josef Sudek monograph by Anna Fárová,   (Prague,  1995) | Photo: Torst

“The exhibition is also featuring photos of the important photographer Josef Sudek, pictures of glass artists that he took in the 1970s, which have never been shown before or published. So this is an important part of the show. We are also featuring videos of the artists that are presenting their work in their studios, blowing furnaces, and so on. The exhibition is going on until November 26th, it’s open every day except Wednesday’s from 10am-7pm, and it’s free of charge. There is a beautiful catalogue available for order online that show pictures that are installed in the space.”

Bohemian Glass: The Great Masters
Venice, Island of San Giorgio Maggiore
The exhibition is free of charge and running until the November 26th, 2023