The Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA) announced a receipt of a major gift of over 100 important works from the “Golden Age” of studio glass from the Jerome V. and Judith G. Rose Family Glass Collection. The collection includes works by pioneers of the studio glass movement and many other artists prominent in U.S. and international museum and private collections, among them Harvey K. Littleton, Dale Chihuly, Paul Marioni, Flora Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick, William Morris, Lino Tagliapietra, Jaroslava Brychtova and Stanislav Libensky, and Ginny Ruffner.
Jerome and Judith Rose, known to their family and friends as Jerry and Judy, began collecting glass in 1977 with the acquisition of a small glass teapot by Richard Marquis. The Roses traveled frequently in the 1980s and 1990s building their collection. This included many visits to Seattle where they became friendly with Dale Chihuly and many of the other artists represented in the collection who are graduates of the Pilchuk Glass School, a center for glass education north of Seattle co-founded by Chihuly. After 40 years of thoughtful acquisitions, the Rose Collection grew into one of the most impressive private studio glass collections in the world comprising 179 works by 83 artists. For 40 years this collection was lovingly and exquisitely displayed through the Rose’s light-filled residence in Atherton, California, delighting family and guests (including many of the artists in the collection who became part of the Rose’s circle of friends).
The Oklahoma City Museum of Art will become the new, public home for this collection thanks to the generosity of the Rose’s children, Lisa Rose and her husband Dr. Ken Koenig of Santa Cruz, California and Sara Jane Rose and husband Jay Shanker of Oklahoma City. It was on trips to Oklahoma City to visit Sara Jane and her family that the Roses first became aware of OKCMOA and its commitment to glass.
“When Jay and I moved to Oklahoma City, Jay’s hometown, in 2005, my parents enjoyed visiting OKCMOA during their trips here,” said Sara Jane Rose. “The Chihuly glass collection at the Museum is breathtaking and was always a joy for us to experience together. We are thrilled to be able to now share our parent’s collection as a permanent feature of Oklahoma City’s creative landscape.”
“The Rose Family Glass Collection traces the history of contemporary studio glass and shows the versatility of the medium in exploring and expressing a wide range of ideas in art,” said Michael J. Anderson, Ph.D., OKCMOA president and CEO. “This important acquisition provides context for our extraordinary Dale Chihuly collection, enabling us to tell a richer story of what glass scholar and curator Tina Oldknow calls the ‘Golden Age’ of studio glass.”
The collection built by Jerry and Judy Rose is similar, in many ways, to The Heinemann Collection at the Corning Museum of Glass in New York, as well as the Dorothy and George Saxe Collection of Contemporary Craft at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco. Both of these represent foundational collections of studio glass at their respective institutions, with a number of significant artists appearing in all three of these collections. The Rose Collection will perform a similar function at OKCMOA.
“During their years of glass collecting, my parents encouraged and fostered the careers of many young glass artists by acquiring or commissioning works directly from them,” said Lisa Rose. “Building and exhibiting this collection was their own work of art. Family, friends, visiting artists and tours were overwhelmed by the collection’s beauty and diversity.”
This extraordinary and eclectic collection features pieces ranging from small-intimate works to large-scale indoor and outdoor pieces, with color palettes shifting from subtle monotones to brilliant jewel-like effects, often depending on placement and lighting. From vases to bowls to busts to wall-hung flat two-dimensional constructions to three-dimensional abstract sculptures, the collection shows the diversity of artistic vision and imagination in the studio glass movement and the fascinating ways artists are able to manipulate glass to create complex and resoundingly beautiful works of art.
“We are extremely appreciative of this generous gift from the Rose family and would like to thank Lisa, Sara Jane, Jay and Ken for their trust and support,” said Anderson. “We are honored to be part of preserving Jerry and Judy’s legacy by presenting their beautiful collection for visitors from near and far to discover and enjoy.”
Among the artists featured in the collection are:
· Fritz Dreisbach: German artist that began glass blowing at the same time as Chihuly and played a significant role in promoting glass as an artistic medium.
· Flora Mace and Joey Kirkpatrick: Long-time collaborators and the first women to teach at Pilchuck.
· John Lewis: Prominent artist whose studio created the chairs for the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
· Paul Marioni: One of the founding members of the American Studio Glass movement who creates sculptures and vessels that are about the human experience, dreams and spirituality.
· William Morris: Worked with Dale Chihuly at Pilchuck and eventually became his chief gaffer (or glassblower) in the 1980s.
· Lino Tagliapietra: World-renowned and revered for his incredible manipulation of glass and innovative creations. At Chihuly’s invitation, visited and introduced students at the Pilchuck School to the long-standing tradition of Venetian glassblowing.
· Toots Zynsky: One of the only women in a group of pioneering artists studying with Chihuly, who made studio glass a worldwide phenomenon.
· Historical glass by Louis C. Tiffany and Emile Galle.
The Rose Family Glass Collection will provide visitors with a deeper contextual understanding of OKCMOA’s collection of Chihuly glass by showcasing the broader story of the Studio Glass movement that originated in America in the 1950s and continues to the present day. Visitors to OKCMOA will be introduced to highlights of the collection beginning Labor Day weekend 2022.
In 2004, the Museum acquired the Dale Chihuly glass collection through an outpouring of support from the community. Over 500 donors supported the Chihuly acquisition campaign. OKCMOA’s collection is now one of the largest public collections of Chihuly glass in the world and features the world’s tallest glass tower by Chihuly, “The Eleanor Blake Kirkpatrick Memorial Tower.” The addition of the Rose Collection will enable OKCMOA to enter the top ranks of American museums showcasing contemporary studio glass.
The Museum will create The Rose Collection Endowment to maintain and preserve the Jerome V. and Judith G. Rose collection. To contribute to this endowment, please contact Kimberley Worrell, firstname.lastname@example.org.