In the excellent indoor exhibition space of the old Sova Mill (Sovovy mlýny), museum goers can see a fantastic display of the work of eight glass artists in a show entitled “7 + 1 Masters of Czech Glass”.
On exhibit are works by Stanislav Libenský, nicknamed the "Picasso of Glass", and Jaroslava Brychtová, who together created the famous and distinctive “safirin glass”, René Roubíček, Věra Lišková, Jiří Harcuba, Václav Cigler and Vladimír Kopecký. Their works include glass heads, columns standing in water, shimmering spherical blocks, realistic and dreamlike shapes and objects and items that offer optical illusions, displaying softness, color changes and the play of light. Thanks to the glass railing by the exhibition artist Václav Cigler, the exhibition space itself is now also part of the exhibition. Each of the individual glassmakers has their own area within the exhibition space so the distinctive and original nature of each of their styles can be better appreciated. A significant portion of the work on exhibit comes from the permanent collection of the Kampa Museum.
This exhibition harks back to a show featuring Czech glass production, which took place back in 1983 at the American Craft Museum in New York City (today the Museum of Arts and Design). Back there, Meda Mládková, an art collector and long-time admirer of Czech art who had lived outside of the country during the Communist era, introduced the art of Czech glassmaking to America. She helped our glass artists become widely known and significantly contributed to the enormous success of this type of artistic expression in America.
To the above seven famous Czech glass artists who are in this group show, one has been added who died last year, Miluse Roubíčková, thus, the title of the show “7+1”).
An interesting footnote on the fame of Czech glass evidencing that the country’s glass artists have long been known beyond the borders of Europe dates back to the above-referenced 1983 exhibition in New York. After the close of that show, all of the work on display by the artist René Roubíček was bought by the governor of Texas John Connally (yes, the one who was sitting in the car next to the American President, John Kennedy, when he was assassinated in 1963). Hundreds of glassmakers are also indebted to the creative talents of the married couple Libenský-Brychtová and their creation of “safirin” glass (the name comes from the Czech word for sapphire).