Miles' Law by Beth Lipman

Glass: Art. Beauty. Design.


Transparent or opaque, fragile yet impervious, glass has inspired artists and designers, stimulated scientists and engineers, and captivated collectors with its beauty and practicality. Hillwood founder Marjorie Merriweather Post was no exception, and she amassed over 1,600 pieces of glass, created in the 17th-20th centuries in China, Western Europe, Russia, and the United States. This special exhibition will highlight this lesser-known aspect of Hillwood’s collection, featuring a range of styles and techniques, while placing the historic creations in dialogue with astounding contemporary artworks.

Glass in Hillwood’s Collection

First made in Mesopotamia and Egypt, glass has been produced in different forms andAcc. no. 14.218 with various techniques for over 3,500 years, now used in most societies throughout the world. Though made of simple ingredients—sand (silica) with additive (plant ash or natron, a type of salt) to lower sand’s fusion temperature, and lime to stabilize it—it is a challenging material that requires innovation and dexterity, though the creative possibilities are endlessly versatile.

Accordingly, Hillwood’s collection includes glassware, decorative vases, candelabras, chandeliers, mirrors, and more, all of which speak to Marjorie Post’s love of entertaining and interior design. Glass will explore the depth and breadth of Post’s collection of historic pieces, placed alongside loans, and will contextualize the history of glass-making techniques. Additionally, the special exhibition will explore Post’s appreciation of early American glass for the first time, with objects that, as her daughter Eleanor Post Close once described, she “loved and collected for many years." Among the highlights on view will be rare monumental candelabras, newly attributed to the famous firm of Baccarat, which have not been on view since the 1930s.

Contemporary Displays

Contemporary pieces on loan for the exhibition, by artists Karen LaMonte, Tim Tate, Joyce J. Scott, Beth Lipman, Fred Wilson, and Debora Moore, will highlight the enduring fascination with glass and developments in the landscape of glass art. Works by artists Karen LaMonte and Joyce Scott will speak to Post’s love for beadwork and fashion, while a sculpture by Beth Lipman will replace a historic table collected by Post. Enchanting glass flowers and orchids by Debora Moore are juxtaposed with Hillwood’s fresh flower arrangements on view.

View a list of all objects on view in the exhibition.


Glass: Art. Beauty. Design. is supported by The Marjorie Merriweather Post Foundation, Ellen MacNeille Charles, Northern Trust, Mary Hale Corkran, Lucy S. Rhame, Martha R. Johnston and Robert T. Coonrod, Carolyn Billinghurst and Carol Bresler, Mr. and Mrs. Henry A. Dudley, Jr., Ms. Nedenia Rumbough and Mr. Jan Roosenburg, Kyra Cheremeteff and Thomas W. Richardson, Elizabeth L. Elser, and Linda and Bill Goldman. All exhibitions and programs are funded in part by the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts through the National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs Program. This project was supported by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

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