Dale Chihuly: Gardens of Glass

He takes his cues from Mother Nature, expressing imaginative and fragile landscapes.



The Mesopatamian in 2500 B.C. who discovered that superheated sand could be used to create a transparent material and shaped into a vessel must have been the ultimate innovator — though the name of the inventor of glass remains unknown.

Some 4,500 years later, Dale Chihuly — who was honored in March 2006 at Palm Springs Art Museum’s Artists and Legends Gala — enjoys worldwide fame for his innovative use of the material to create wildly imaginative, elegant, and complex artworks. He exhibits new works periodically at Imago Galleries in Palm Desert.

Imago owners Leisa and David Austin have grown close to Chihuly and have represented him in the Coachella Valley since they opened their first gallery in Palm Springs 14 years ago. In fact, their first exhibition was devoted to Chihuly’s work and their Palm Desert gallery, which opened six years ago, was specifically designed with a second-story corner window to showcase one of the glass master’s chandeliers.

The current exhibition marks the first local showing of Chihuly’s series titled Mille Fiori (Italian for "thousand flowers"). The installation comprises steel platforms "planted" with glass flowers, gourds, reeds, and other vegetation. Mother Nature herself would be hard-pressed to improve upon the color spectrum Chihuly employs. His sense of transparency and opacity, depth, and luminosity reveal an understanding of how light transforms our perceptions of shape.

Chihuly has long exhibited an affinity for the natural environment, whether it be in the organic forms that mark his work or in the places he selects to place them. His first installation at the Pilchuck Glass School he founded near Seattle, Wash., was a series of floats he sailed in a pond behind the glass shop. His later installations have graced other waterways and botanical gardens, most recently the Kew Gardens near London last spring. There, he designed a panorama of large-scale, organic-shaped glass to respond to the plants, trees, and sweeping vistas of the 300-acre property.

Dale Chihuly shows at Imago Galleries

This article was originally published April, 2006 and updated for the web June, 2007.

More Art
Palm Springs Life

Related Articles

Palm Springs Modern Committee to Host Annual Preservation Awards

Palm Springs Modern Committee’s Annual Preservation Awards Gala on Oct. 4 will honor contributions in preservation, restoration, renovation or adaptive reuse of a midcentury modern residential or commercial property.

10 Reasons to Attend Modernism Week Fall Preview

Here are 10 reasons to attend Modernism Week's Fall Preview in Palm Springs over the Columbus Day holiday weekend, Oct. 10-13.

McCallum Theatre Presents Palm Desert International Dance Festival

On the heels of a successful first venture, the McCallum Theatre is presenting its second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival, Nov. 6-15.

What to Do Labor Day Weekend in Greater Palm Springs

Labor Day Weekend marks the symbolic close to summer, but it's also a long weekend filled with music, food, and a host of activities in Greater Palm Springs.

"Top Rock" Commands Stage at Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs

"Top Rock" brings a brash, rockin' musical tribute to the Hard Rock Hotel Palm Springs on Friday and Saturday nights through September.

Promotions + Contests

Cartoon Caption Contest

Cartoon Caption Contest

Each month, we provide a vintage 1950’s cartoon illustrated by Alice Rovinsky. You are invited to submit a caption or vote for your favorite caption.
Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter to Win A Celebrate Dance Experience!

Enter just once for a chance to win tickets to one of the second annual Palm Desert International Dance Festival performances.