Stanislav Libensky
Czechoslovakia 1921-2002

The Portal , 1996
Vitreograph, waterless lithography printon Arches 88, Edition of 40
image: 13 x 18"; paper size: 22 x 26"

Triangle in the Triangle, 1996
Vitreograph, waterless lithography print on Arches 88, Edition of 40
image: 13 x 18"; paper size: 22 x 26:
Untitled, 1996
taglio vitreograph with hand coloring (heart) on Arches, Edition of 40
image: 13 x 20", paper size: 22 x 30"
Impress of an Angel, 1996
taglio vitreograph with hand coloring (heart) on Arches, Edition of 40
image: 13 x 18", paper size: 22 x 26"

In the world of glass art, the name Stanislav Libenský is immortally linked with that of his wife and artistic collaborator, Jaraslava Brychtová (b. 1924). Their collaboration began in the mid-1950s with a glass and concrete wall for the Brussels EXPO '58. Based on the cave paintings of animals at Lascaux and Altimira, the installation won a grand prize. Zoomorphic Stones, as that work came to be known, employed internal modeling of shapes cast in glass. The technique became the basis of most of Libenský and Brychtová's future work.

Born in Sezemice, Czechoslovakia, Stanislav Libenský began his study of glass in 1937 at the Specialized School of Glassmaking in Nový Bor, a region encompassing the Czech-German border called the Sudetenland. When the German army occupied the Sudetenland in 1938, Libenský moved first to the school at Zelezný Brod and later to the Prague Academy of Applied Arts, from which he graduated in 1944. His first notable series in glass, created in Nový Bor between 1945 and 1948, were thin crystal vessels, delicately etched and enameled with themes from the Bible and Renaissance art.

In 1948 Libenský returned to the Prague Academy where he studied under Josef Kaplický, a painter, sculptor and architect who was head of the school of painting on glass. Through his dynamic teaching style and modernist ideas Kaplicky had a tremendous influence on his students and thus on the independence of glass as an art form in Czechoslovakia. In 1953 Libenský returned to Zelezný Brod to become the director of the Specialized School of Glassmaking. It was during that time that he met Jaraslava Brychtová, the daughter of Jaroslav Brychta, a well-known glass designer. Brychtová had begun to experiment with casting and carving glass in the late 1940s.

Josef Kaplický's death in 1962 left a void at the Prague Academy that was filled by Libenský, who was appointed a professor in the glass department in 1963. Libenský was an excellent teacher who respected the tradition of glass in Czechoslovakia while furthering his own ideas about the modern direction of glass art. His career at the school lasted nearly one-quarter of a century. During that time, despite the opposition of the Communist government that had taken hold of the country in the late 1940s, Libenský was able not only to influence two generations of glass artists through his teaching but also, through international lecturing and exhibition of his and Jaraslava Brychtová's works, build world-wide interest in modern Czech glass art.

Among the honors given to Libenský were a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Arts and Design) in New York City in 1997 and an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in London, England in 1995. He was made a Chevalier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 1989.

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Bennett Bean

William and Katherine Bernstein

Dale Chihuly

Shane Fero

Sergei Isupov

Herb Jackson

Richard Jolley

Stanlislav Libensky

Harvey K. Littleton

Peter Loewer

Tom Nakashima

Judith O'Rourke

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Claire VanVilet

Emilio Vedova

Dan Welden

Anne Wolff

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