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Friday August 26, 2011 | by Andrew Page

IN MEMORIAM: Danish glass giant Finn Lynggaard (1930 – 2011)

FILED UNDER: In Memoriam, News

Like Harvey Littleton and Erwin Eisch, Denmark's Finn Lynggaard helped advance Studio Glass in his country. courtesy: glasmuseet ebeltoft

Finn Lynggaard, the father of Danish Studio Glass, died yesterday. He was 81 years old. Taking a cue from Harvey Littleton in the United States, Lynggaard moved from ceramics to glass as his medium, and became the chief proselytizer for the material in his native Denmark. The glass studio he established in Ebeltoft would bec0me the site of an important glass museum and a testament to his ambition. Glasmuseet Ebeltoft was found in 1985, and has grown into a site of important exhibitions of art made from glass.

A graduate of the Royal College of Art in Copenhagen in 1955, where he studied painting and ceramics, Lynggaard didn’t encounter glass as an art medium until a 1970 visit to Toronto, Canada, but he was instantly smitten. He returned to Denmark determined to advance this cutting-edge material as a sculptural medium, and focused all of his energy on developing impressive skills at the bench. It wasn’t long before he envisioned an art museum devoted to glass with an international focus, and he began building a collection of donated works before the project even began, spreading the word during his frequent travels. The Glasmuseet Ebeltoft was inaugurated in 1986 and would expand dramatically in 2008 with the addition of a new wing.

Lynggaard was known for his limitless energy and determination that saw him bring a major glass museum to the fishing town of Ebeltoft.

In an obituary written and circulated by Dagmar Brendstrup, executive director of the museum, she writes “Finn Lynggaard was small in stature but a great and committed person to the very end. He is survived by his wife, Tchai Munch, and his four children.”

The exhibition ”Status 80,” which opened at Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in January 2010, on the occasion of the artist’s 80th birthday, celebrated Lynggaard and his art, and included some of his older ceramic works and painting as well as a multitude of his often whimsical works in glass. Lynggaard’s work is represented in several museums worldwide, including the Kunstindustrimuseet, Copenhagen, Denmark; Nationalmuseet, Stockholm, Sweden; the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK; the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Lausanne, Switzerland; The Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning, New York; and the Kunstsammlungen Veste Coburg in Coburg, Germany.

A funeral will be held in Ebeltoft Church on Friday, September 2nd, at 3:30 pm. Lynggaard requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to The Finn Lynggaard Foundation, which has as its mission the support of emerging glass artists in Denmark. Donations can be sent via wire tansfer to: IBAN: DK36 3000 0010 5916 43 SWIFT: DABADKKK

Editor’s Note: To share your own memories and thoughts about the passing of Finn Lynggaard, please use the Comments below.

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.