Reflections on a Legacy: Vitreographs from Littleton Studios

The following information about this past Turchin Center exhibition is kept here for archival purposes only. This exhibition is not currently on display. View current and upcoming exhibitions.

Friday, July 7, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Main Gallery
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Master Printer Judith O'Rourke pulling a print. The glass plate can be seen on the press bed. It rests inside a composition board frame that keeps the margins of the paper level with the printing surface. Photo courtesy of Clarence Morgan.

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Top to bottom: Hired Hand by Dorothy Simpson Krause (1998). Vitreograph on paper, edition of 20. Photo courtesy of the Littleton Collection. Bee-Pin by David Dodge Lewis (1997). Vitreograph on paper, edition of 30. Photo courtesy of the Littleton Collection. Atmospheric Creatures by Judith O'Rourke (1998). Vitreograph on paper, edition of 1. Photo courtesy of the Littleton Collection.

Pioneered in modern printmaking by glass artist Harvey K. Littleton in 1974, vitreography has been the focus of creative and technical efforts at Littleton Studios in Spruce Pine, North Carolina since 1981. Until 1974 Littleton had already become an acclaimed glass artist and is known as the father of studio glass in America. When he began experimenting with printmaking it seemed logical to use glass as a printing plate. A modest attempt to use glass in this way had occurred in the 1800's, but the quality of glass made it a poor material for the printing process. Modern glass, without the manufacturing issues of the nineteenth century, proved a perfect medium from which to create prints. Littleton closed his glassblowing furnace in 1991,and since has devoted himself to vitreography full-time. Over the years Littleton has invited painters and printmakers, as well as glass artists and sculptors, to create vitreographs at Littleton Studios. It is from this incredible collection of work that the Turchin Center has curated this luminous and inspiring exhibition.

About the Littleton Collection

Overlooking the Indian River in St. Lucie County, Florida, The Littleton Collection is perched on a sand ridge on the east side of U.S. 1 nine miles south of Vero Beach and three miles north of Fort Pierce. The Littleton Collection is literally and figuratively a high spot in south central Florida. Its view of the Indian River lagoon and the barrier island beyond is as spectacular as the contemporary artworks the gallery offers.

The gallery is the creation of Harvey K. Littleton, the renowned glass artist who has been called the father of the American studio glass movement. Littleton's glass sculptures are featured in the Littleton Collection along with works by his contemporaries, including Dale Chihuly, Erwin Eisch, and Stanislav Libenski.

In addition to contemporary glass the gallery has an extensive inventory of 19th and 20th century art glass, including rare pieces from famous factories: Daum, Galle, Loetz, Moser, Orrefors, Schneider, Stueben, and Tiffany.

The Littleton Collection's selection of fine prints specializes in a printmaking medium pioneered by Harvey Littleton: vitreography. Simply put, a vitreograph is a print that has been pulled (printed) from a glass matrix onto paper. Unlike a monotype, in which an image is painted onto a piece of glass and then transferred under pressure to a piece of paper, the image on a vitreograph plate is fixed and can be inked and re-inked to produce an edition of multiples.

To date, over one hundred artists have collaborated with Littleton Studios to produce hundreds of print editions using the vitreographic process. A partial listing of these artists includes Dale Chihuly, Warrington Colescott, Nancy Genn, Sergei Isupov, Herb Jackson, Richard Jolley, Stanislav Libenski, Thomas Philabaum, Italo Scanga, Therman Statom, Claire Van Vliet, and Carol Wax.

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