From studio to museum

Studio glass artworks from the collection of the Malaga Glass Museum are now on display in Nerja. Many have never been shown before


During the pandemic, Malaga's Glass and Crystal Museum has been closed but it is due to open again in September. Some of the crystal and glass masterpieces, however, can be viewed in the Museum of Nerja from now until 3 October, as part of the exhibition Dos Décadas Prodigiosas (Two Prodigious Decades).

Studio glass was born in America. It is all about artistic glassmaking, or rather, an artistic medium to produce sculptures or three-dimensional artworks with a focus on making one-of-a-kind objects. The movement originated in Ohio, where a series of workshops were held at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. The enthusiasm of these creative visionaries resulted in a new concept of glassmaking spreading rapidly to Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, as well as to Australia and Asia, thus creating enormous appeal and interest in artistic circles.

Harvey Littleton is considered the father of studio glass. The revolutionary glass artists, Samuel Herman in the UK, Sybren Walkema in the Netherlands and first of all Erwin Eisch in Germany were the pioneers of the movement in Europe. In the 60s, they started a fertile period of experimentation by working on a massive scale and using small furnaces and a variety of other techniques to highlight power of glass with its brilliance and transparency.

Studio glass art is the creation of a one-of-a-kind work. Therefore pieces are unique, and made in a small limited edition with the prices ranging from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of euros.

The owner of the collection of Glass and Crystal Museum, Gonzalo Fernández-Prieto, is exhibiting in Nerja only the glass pieces representing German production created between 1975 to 1995 when the Rosenthal factory played a significant role in the field of art glass. Masters such as Andy Warhol, Salvador Dalí, Samuel Herman and Tapio Wirkkal designed for Rosenthal.

The Rosenthal pieces together with the masterpieces by Erwin Eisch have a very special meaning for Fernández-Prieto.

«Most of them I have bought in Germany where I have friends and relatives and where I usually spend my summer holidays. I personally know many of the artists from Studio Glass, for example Uta Majmudar. This passionate woman from Haan is one of the most important glass artists in Germany. Some artworks shown in Nerja - from small ornaments to larger vases - have never yet been exhibited in the Glass Museum due to lack of space. Therefore I am glad of this first collaboration with the Museum of Nerja and its director Juan Bautista Salado. He is a friend and we are both familiar with many concepts in dealing with culture. I hope this exhibition is the start of many more collaborations.»

The exhibition is free and is on display until 3 October.