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dale chihuly

on display year-round

Dale Chihuly, Mille Colori, 2003

Often called "the world's greatest living artist," Dale Chihuly has single-handedly changed the glass world with his elaborate and extraordinary works. His retrieval of ancient glass-blowing techniques and his founding of the Pilchuck Glass School, the most prominent glass-working school in the world, are both groundbreaking moments in contemporary glass art. In his Seattle "hot shop," he and his team of glassblowers push the limits of molten glass, darting across the room like dancers, their movements choreographed by the master. In 1996, Chihuly created 15 enormous chandeliers, placing them under bridges and across the Venetian canals as a tribute to the biennale Aperto Vetro. The result was an electrifying, unforgettable experience. Several of these works were re-sited at the Contemporary Art Center of  Virginia (now MOCA) for the Art of Glass exhibition in 1999, including the multicolored Isola di San Giacomo in Palude chandelier.  In 2003, Chihuly's colorful chandelier Isola di San Giacomo in Palude II was purchased through private donations and retitled Mille Colori.  Permanently installed at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Chihuly's 14-foot tall chandelier hangs just above the heads of visitors in the center of the sunlit Rodriguez Pavilion.

  • Mille Colori  is Italian and means "one thousand colors.”
  • The estimated weight of Mille Colori is 2,200 to 2500 pounds.
  • Temporary outdoor projects incorporating glass were unheard of before Chihuly.
  • Nature and gardens are two of his biggest inspirations.
  • Each Chihuly exhibition is designed specifically for the space, exterior and interior included. MOCA's Rodriguez Pavilion was built to house our adored sole permanent piece: Dale Chihuly's Mille Colori.
  • Working collaboratively with a team of glass-blowers, Chihuly's division of labor promoted glass sculpture to cross boundaries. Dale Chihuly was the first to take blown glass out of the realm of precious objects into large elaborate, multifaceted contemporary sculpture.


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