Chrysler Museum Acquires 19th-Century Glass Cameo Plaque
Two works by George and Thomas Woodall Reunited After Decades Apart
NORFOLK, Va. – (July 11, 2013) – The Chrysler Museum of Art today announced the acquisition of an exceptional 17-inch glass cameo plaque created by George and Thomas Woodall. Entitled The Attack, the piece dates from the late 19th century and is the Woodall brothers’ last artistic collaboration. English cameo glass was some of the most expensive glass ever produced. Large plaques like The Attack were difficult and time-consuming to create and a piece the size and quality of The Attack is especially rare.
The Chrysler Museum of Art’s acquisition of The Attack marks the reunion of this piece with its companion, The Intruders, from which it has been separated for decades. When the Museum acquired The Intruders in 1999, the pair of works had already been separated for many years. The Museum’s glass collection, considered to be one of the finest in the world, also includes a set of pendant vases by the Woodall brothers, Before The Race and The Race.
“The addition of this significant plaque enhances our outstanding collection of glass, and we’re excited to reunite these two long-separated works,” said Museum Director William Hennessey. “We’re looking forward to presenting these visually stunning masterpieces together in our expanded and renovated galleries opening in the spring of 2014.”
The Attack features a scene of a female figure dressed in diaphanous drapery fending off an “attack” by intruders—flying putti. The figures are under a canopy of drapes, with landscapes framing classical architectural elements. The Attack and The Intruders represent the height of the Woodall brothers’ skill and contributed considerably to their reputation as England’s most important carvers of cameo glass. Remarkably, photographs of the work in process survive and provide important historical documentation of the intricate process of cameo carving.
The Chrysler Museum is currently undergoing a renovation and expansion project that is enabling the Museum to completely reinstall its collection and develop new exhibition and interpretive strategies. The acquisition of The Attack marks the continuing growth of the Chrysler's nationally recognized permanent collection.
About the Chrysler Museum of Art
The core of the Chrysler’s collection was given to the Museum by Walter Chrysler, Jr., an avid art collector who donated thousands of objects from his private collection to the Museum.
Walter Chrysler, Jr. was born in 1909 into one of the 20th century’s most prominent industrial families—his father, Walter, Sr., founded the Chrysler Corporation. Chrysler collected prodigiously, acquiring Old Masters, decorative arts, American art from colonial portraiture to post-war works by Pollock, Rothko, and Warhol; as well as European painting from Veronese to Delacroix to Degas. Chrysler’s greatest passion (beyond paintings) was glass, and he built one of the country’s premier collections of this material. Known for following his own instincts regardless of prevailing fashion, Chrysler amassed works that reflected his diverse taste and unique eye.
In the years since Chrysler’s death, the Museum has dramatically expanded its collection and extended its ties with the Norfolk community. The Museum now has rapidly growing collections, especially of contemporary glass and 21st-century works. In 2011, the Chrysler opened a state-of-the-art glass studio with a 560 pound capacity glass furnace, full hot shop, a flameworking studio, nine annealing ovens, and a coldworking area. The Glass Studio complements the Museum’s glass collection and enables visitors to watch demonstrations and participate in workshops and classes in glass making. The Studio has become a center of activity for the Museum and the glass community nationally, with free daily demonstrations, programs of performance art and music, and guest artist residencies.
In addition to its main building and Glass Studio, the Chrysler Museum of Art administers the historic Willoughby-Baylor House and the Moses Myers House. The Willoughby-Baylor House currently features an exhibition of iconic paintings from the Museum’s American collection while the main Museum is closed for the renovation. The Moses Myers House, dating from 1792, presents a look into the life of a prosperous early-19th-century merchant and his family, the first Jewish permanent residents of Norfolk. More than 70 percent of the Federal period furnishings and paintings on view in the Moses Myers House are original to the home.
The Chrysler Museum of Art campus is located at One Memorial Place, in Norfolk, VA. While the Museum is closed during construction, the Chrysler Museum Glass Studio and its two historic houses are open. The Glass Studio, located at 745 Duke St., Norfolk, is open Wednesday to Sunday with free glass demonstrations at noon. The Willoughby-Baylor House, 601 E. Freemason St., and the Moses Myers House, 323 E. Freemason St., Norfolk are open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is free at these venues.
Contact Cindy Mackey