Thursday January 4, 2024 | by Emma Park

In Romont, Switzerland, the future of glass art in Europe was discussed last Fall while the Vitromusée showcased masterworks of the past and present

At a recent Fall conference titled "Concepts and Aesthetics: New Tendencies in Glass Art (20th-21st centuries)" held at the Romont Glass Centre, Switzerland, questions about the future of glass art were never far from the minds of those in attendance: curators, staff, and professors from glass museums and academic programs around Europe. While in Switzerland itself, where the small Alpine town of Romont is nestled in the foothills of the mountains, the strong Swiss economy and a national dedication to arts funding have largely insulated them from the funding struggles of their peers, the mood was colored by concern about budget cuts. At the September 22nd event, however, anxiety seemed far from the conference venue, itself, ensconced behind the sturdy walls of a castle dating back to the thirteenth century. 

Here, the Romont Glass Centre consists of a major exhibition space, the Vitromusée, as well as a library and research facility named the Vitrocentre. The center's director, Francine Giese said the Romont has three primary areas of focus on historic and contemporary glassmaking: 

  • reverse glass painting, of which it has possibly the largest collections in Europe
  • stained glass, both Swiss and international
  • blown glass, the newest section.

The study center's work often corresponds to the ongoing exhibitions. ‘It’s this exchange between research and the museum that is really unique,’ says Rosemont's director Giese.

Philip Baldwin & Monica Guggisberg, The Magic of Seven, 2021. Free-blown glass, incalmo, under-and overlay, cold-worked (inciso). H 26 in. photo: alex ramsay © baldwin & guggisberg

Until January 21, 2024, its main exhibition is "In the Labyrinth: A Liminal Voyage," by Philip Baldwin and Monica Guggisberg, who also gave the keynote speech at the conference. Also running into January is a smaller exhibition of two postwar Venetian pieces in the museum’s collection, a sommerso vessel designed by Flavio Poli and made at the Seguso Vetri d’Arte glassworks, and a fazzoletto designed by Fulvio Bianconi and made at Venini. These are accompanied by illustrative watercolours and factory archives from Murano, provided by the Centre for the Study of Glass in Venice.

Editor's Note: A longer article on the conference will be published in the Spring 2024 print edition of Glass.

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.