Stanislav Libenský & Jaroslava Brychtová: Lifetime Casts
Barry Friedman Ltd. is pleased to present a solo exhibition of lifetime casts in glass by Czech sculptors, Stanislav Libenský (1921 – 2002) and Jaroslava Brychtová (b. 1924). This is one of the most important bodies of their work to come to the market in years.
Stanislav Libenský & Jaroslava Brychtová started working together in 1954, but prior experiences helped define their independent strengths, his in drawing and painting, and hers in sculpture; his visual initiative and her discipline and grand-scale vision. Their combined talents proved astonishingly harmonious. Balance, in fact, is the key to much of their work; a beautiful and complex union of form, color, and texture. Color and light, depth and density express the optical qualities of their material, while the juxtaposition of raw and polished surfaces imbue each piece with unique texture. In distilled geometric simplicity, their work commands a sense of power and mystery.
Thomas S. Buechner, founding director of the Corning Museum of Glass, wrote in 1994: “Stanislav Libenský & Jaroslava Brychtová are powerful people. They make things that are big and precious: their pieces have content; they are built of ideas, convictions, and emotions; and yet they are enchantingly attractive. The Libenskýs build while they teach: generations of distinguished artists began in their studios, but after all these years, they remain a transcendent creative force.”
Both Libenský and Brychtová studied at the School of Applied Arts in Prague. In 1945, Libenský became a faculty member at the Specialized School for Glassmaking in Nový Bor and helped rebuild the local glass industry after the war. Brychtová started working at the Železný Brod Glassworks in 1950, founding a studio department, the Center for Architectural Glass. Both were similarly and independently inspired to preserve the Bohemian glass tradition, despite the artistic and intellectual isolation of the 1940s and 1950s. The isolation of the Czech Republic, and central Europe as a whole, caused artists to return to traditional materials and explore artistic expression in ways that were accessible to them in the aftermath of the war and the first years under communism. This political backdrop provides a dramatic context for the tasks and responsibilities that these artists faced. It is in this context only that we can comprehend the degree of sensitivity and resolve they possessed to transcend political barriers while remaining faithful to both their cultural and personal sensibilities. As a result, they not only established a modern sculpture tradition in Czechoslovakia and paved the way for generations of distinguished Bohemian glass sculptors, but their impact was also felt in the American studio movement and glass artistry around the globe.
Libenský’s and Brychtová’s works are represented in private and public collections around the world including: The Musee des arts decoratifs, Paris; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; Los Angeles County Museum, CA; Museum Bellerive, Zürich. They have also received numerous awards including: Lifetime Achievement Award, The American Craft Museum, New York, 1997; Stanislav Libenský, Doctor of the Royal College of Art, honoris causa, London, 1994; Chevalier de l’ordre des arts et des letters, Paris, 1989; Ehrenpreis, Coburger Glaspreis, 1985, 1977; Gold Medal, VII Bienal de Sao Paulo, 1965; Grand Prix, Expo ’58, Bruxelles, 1958.
Running concurrently in adjacent galleries is a solo exhibition of important glass works by William Morris and Emergence: Early American Studio Glass and Its Influences.
For visuals and more information, please contact Carole Hochman or Lisa Jensen Bonham at: 212 794-8950.