Ispirazione: James Mongrain in the George R. Stroemple Collection

February 10 - October 15, 2017

James Mongrain Vessel from Poseidon SeriesIspirazione: James Mongrain in the George R. Stroemple Collection is the result of a four year collaboration between artist James Mongrain (American, born 1968) and collector George R. Stroemple that began back in 2012. Stroemple, an avid collector of nineteenth-century Venetian glass, challenged Mongrain to draw inspiration from the vintage pieces in his collection, giving the artist free reign to engage in a dialogue with any of the objects that sparked his interest. Mongrain, already a highly-skilled maker of goblets in the Venetian tradition, was inspired by the iconic pieces in the Stroemple collection which resonated with his deep understanding of the material and his own personal artistic style. The resulting work is large and powerful, fresh and new, and it showcases Mongrain’s incredible hot-sculpting technique, complemented by a delicacy of touch that captures the quintessential character of each mythical creature and historical form. The work is steeped in tradition, yet combines a new energy and vibrancy that makes a profound statement: the heritage of the past endures and can be effectively merged with the dynamism of the twenty-first century.

Stroemple and Mongrain share a common passion for Venetian techniques which resulted in a dynamic new body of work. Mongrain, a self-proclaimed beneficiary of the skills imparted by the Italian masters, is an artist who has taken every opportunity to contemplate the secrets of Italian glassblowing. Over the course of his career, Mongrain spent thousands of hours making goblets and other vessels, practicing traditional Italian methods, until he attained spectacular proficiency. Additionally, this busy artist has worked for Dale Chihuly for the last 24 years, and currently serves as his lead gaffer.  Stroemple is internationally recognized for his contemporary art collection, which, in part, documents the Studio Glass movement in the Pacific Northwest. He has a special interest in fostering creative relationships with artists, and his collaboration with James Mongrain is true to form. He describes their relationship as exceptional.

“I always enjoy the opportunity to work with an artist to realize a new body of work, work that perhaps would not have been made had we not entered into the complicated collaboration of artist and patron. There is no doubt in my mind that James is an artist who looks to the past for inspiration, but he translates the rich Venetian legacy using his exceptional vision. I appreciate that James pushed himself to make his best work to date for the Stroemple Collection.”

Ispirazione: James Mongrain in the George R. Stroemple Collection includes over 130 unique artistic works and covers a series of four collections— the Adriatico series, as well as Atlantis, Poseidon, and Arcobaleno, complimented by more than 100 of the vintage Venetian pieces which inspired Mongrain's new and dynamic work.   


Image Credit: James Mongrain (American, born 1968); Vessel from Poseidon, Made at Museum of Glass, 2015; Blown and hot-sculpted glass; 29 3/4 x 18 1/4 x 8 1/8 inches; The George R. Stroemple Collection, A Stroemple/Stirek Collaboration. Photo by Scott Leen. 

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