Artist

Harvey Littleton

Harvey Littleton (June 14, 1922 – December 13, 2013) was an American glass artist and educator, one of the founders of the studio glass movement; he is often referred to as the “Father of the Studio Glass Movement”.[1] Born in Corning, New York, he grew up in the shadow of Corning Glass Works, where his .....

Harvey Littleton (June 14, 1922 – December 13, 2013) was an American glass artist and educator, one of the founders of the studio glass movement; he is often referred to as the “Father of the Studio Glass Movement”.[1] Born in Corning, New York, he grew up in the shadow of Corning Glass Works, where his father headed Research and Development during the 1930s.[2]: 6  Expected by his father to enter the field of physics, Littleton instead chose a career in art, gaining recognition first as a ceramist and later as a glassblower and sculptor in glass. In the latter capacity he was very influential, organizing the first glassblowing seminar aimed at the studio artist in 1962, on the grounds of the Toledo Museum of Art. Imbued with the prevailing view at the time that glassblowing could only be done on the factory floor, separated from the designer at his desk, Littleton aimed to put it within the reach of the individual studio artist.[3]: 6 

In his role as an educator, Littleton was an “… outspoken and eloquent advocate of university education in the arts.”[4]: 6  He initiated the first hot glass program at an American university (the University of Wisconsin–Madison) and promoted the idea of glass as a course of study in university art departments in the United States. Littleton’s students went on to disseminate the study of glass art and establish other university-level hot glass programs throughout the U.S.

Littleton retired from teaching in 1977 to focus on his own art.[5]: 110–111  Exploring the inherent qualities of the medium, he worked in series with simple forms to draw attention to the complex interplay of transparent glass with multiple overlays of thin color.[4]: 2 

While at Wisconsin, as an outgrowth of a workshop he taught in cold-working techniques for glass, Littleton began experimenting with printmaking from glass panes. As an independent artist, his studio included space for printmaking, and he continued to explore and develop the techniques of vitreography.[5]: 99, 130–134 

Littleton worked as an independent glassblower and sculptor until chronic back problems forced him to abandon hot glass in 1990, and he continued his creative interest in vitreography well beyond that.

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