|CIRRUS WHITE BASKET SET WITH LAMP BLACK LIP WRAP (95.2615.B12) (1995), BY DALE CHIHULY|
ACQUIRED FROM JERALD MELBERG GALLERY, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, JULY 1999
HAND-BLOWN GLASS, SIGNATURE ENGRAVED BY THE ARTIST ON TWO OF THE BLUE ELEMENTS
When it was announced that a show of Chihuly's works would be exhibited at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design starting in July 1999, I immediately made plans to see the show as soon as possible. When I heard that Chihuly would be attending a gala opening of a show of his works at the Jerald Melberg Gallery, I made plans to attend that, as well.
On the Saturday before the opening of the shows, I dropped into Jerald Melberg Gallery to see the new Chihulys, which were already in the process of being set out on display. After looking at the different works for a while, and after talking with Jerald about the various works, I made the decision to purchase Scarlet Soft Cylinder with Yellow Lip Wrap (89.1126.sc1), which is a very nice soft cylinder. We shook hands, and a small red dot went up on the wall next to the label for the soft cylinder to indicate that it was sold.
Then I attended the Dale Chihuly: Installations show at the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, and saw this work.
When I walked into the room where this work and two similar works were being displayed, my jaw just about hit the floor. While most of the other works in the show were more spectactular and grander in scale (for example, the Persian Ceiling, or the Niijima Floats), this work struck me as being very subtle, very elegant, and very beautiful, all at once.
Later that evening, Jerald asked me what I thought of the show. "What do I think?" I said. "I think I wish you had those three basket sets in your gallery." Jerald told me to check back with him the next evening, at the gala opening at his gallery.
When I arrived the next evening, Jerald told me that this basket set was available... but I would need to let him know if I wanted it before the gallery opened, so that he could show the soft cylinder to other potential clients. To show Jerald that I wanted to go with this basket set, I removed the red dot from the wall next to the soft cylinder and handed it to him. :-)
The work is 24" tall by 21" wide by 18" deep. There are 12 elements in all; 1 large white-and-transparent element, 5 smaller blue elements, and 6 smaller white elements. The large element has black lip wraps which also extend farther down on the body of the element, and a very smooth transition from cloudy white to transparent. Some of the small blue elements also have black lip wraps. One of the small white elements is actually striped in white and transparent.
This set really lives up to its name... it almost looks like a frozen cloud. Unlike my other Chihuly basket set (Royal Blue and Red Basket Set with Black Lip Wraps), which is a work in contrasts, this work tends to blend together in a very subtle way that I really like.
As with my other Chihuly basket set, this set is rare in that two of its elements are signed: one is signed "Chihuly 95", and one is signed "Chihuly 97".
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(Postscript: Officially, the number for this set is 95.2615.b10... according to Chihuly's master archivist, this set is supposed to have ten elements, not twelve. Somehow, the set picked up two elements somewhere along the way... so for now, I'm referring to it as 95.2615.b12.)