Marvin Lipofsky : A Glassful of Imagination

Thursday, February 24, 2011
Lipofsky was an integral catalyst in the spreading of glass art throughout America. He was the artist who introduced the craft to the state of California by teaching at various universities like the state university, Berkley and the College of Art and Crafts. Born on Sept. 2, 1938, Lipofsky always had a knack for the language of the arts. Though raised with a family-business in mind, he graduated as a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois and eventually graduated with an MS and MFA in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin in 1964. The studio-glass movement was Lipofsky's central passion. While studying in Wisconsin, he encountered Harvey Littleton as an art mentor who taught him varying degrees of exploring the media. Dominick Labino also met Lipofsky there, and together they shared information, lessons and creative ideas.

Creative Glass by Marvin Lipofsky - Photography by Chris Miller

Later on, he took up tenure at the the University of California, Berkeley up until 1972. John Lewis and Richard Marquis were among the students who were able to learn under Lipofsky's guiding hand. He became a well-travelled workshop instructor as well, traveling as far off as Japan, Spain and the Netherlands. This didn't mean that he had abandoned doing seminars locally though. He had also instructed many students at the Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood and the Columbus College of Art and Design.

In 1967, He founded and headed a university's formal glass program (California College of Arts and Crafts). He also founded the Glass Art Society, where he became president for two years. He was also famous for being one of the pioneer glass artisans to travel to Czechoslovakia.

His work when described, could be considered as rather colorful and truly organic in structure. Dan Klein described his art as visceral and gestural. Lipofsky preferred to create his glass works in partial translucency and contour them into curvaceous shapes such as bubbles and irregular objects. Glassblowing was his to conquer with his adamant skills and talents. He garnered many awards for his passion, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass in Chicago, as well as two National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1974 and 76'. His works can currently be found at many locations spread across the United States and other countries. He has art pieces at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto (Japan).


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