The collection of contemporary glass art is the fruit of a long and positive collaboration between a couple of patrons and the Musée des arts décoratifs de la Ville de Lausanne, now known as mudac. In the 1960s, Peter and Traudl Engelhorn felt the desire to put together a collection. They wanted an original project anchored in recent developments in art and technique. When they discovered the glass sculptures from the Fucina degli Angeli and the appearance of a new discipline of glass art, they decided to document the emerging history of this art form at a global level. They also sought to share their passion with as many others as possible, by making their works highly visible. It was for this reason that, in 1971, they signed a convention with the City of Lausanne, stipulating that each acquisition would be immediately handed over to the museum and thus become public property.
After the first donation of 36 œuvres from the Fucina degli Angeli born of a collaboration between a Venetian master glass craftsman, Egidio Costantini, and renowned 20th century designers, there were numerous glass works commissioned from artists such as Pierre Dmitrienko, Salvador Dali and Thomas Gleb, and published in limited edition by Daum in Nancy, which added to the museum’s collection of glass art. The patrons also paid particular attention to works in cut crystal by the Steuben glass factory in the United States and, naturally, to the studio glass movement as it emerged in Europe, Japan and the United States. Therefore, the collection includes signed pieces of internationally renowned artists such as Peter Aldridge, Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova, Bert Frijns, Dale Chihuly, Niyoko Ikuta, Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg, Bernard Dejonghe and Lino Tagliapietra.
The mudac’s collection of contemporary glass art thus illustrates the history of this fascinating discipline. For around fifteen years, it has also benefited from works which interweave ties with design. Take for example, the Water II Caraf by the Dutch designer Pieke Bergmans, Jug by the Italian design duo Studio Formafantasma or Mae West by Studio Job. Since then, this collection has been fully incorporated into the collection held by the museum, reflecting the mudac’s current wish to use both its acquisitions policy and its exhibitions to emphasise the porosity between contemporary art, design and applied arts.
The inventory is constantly updated, and the works are documented photographically. It is available to view via the city of Lausanne’s museums database. Researchers and others with a particular interest in the field can view the collection by appointment.