Glass and Light

Glass art from Europe’s oldest secondary school of glassmaking in Kamenický Šenov (CZ)

Glass and Light

28.07.2018 - 06.01.2019

The small but world-famous Czech glassmaking town of Kamenický Šenov (known as “Steinschönau” in German) is set in an idyllic landscape on the border between the Lusatian Highlands and the Bohemian Uplands. The region has been synonymous with glassmaking since the 16th century, and in the 18th century Kamenický Šenov became an important centre of the European glass trade.

When the glass industry experienced a boom around 1840, glass producers in Kamenický Šenov set out to upgrade their artisans’ professional skills in an effort to remain competitive on the international market. Drawing classes were thus introduced at the local Sunday school as early as 1839, attended by pupils and by glass journeymen and masters. In 1856, the Secondary School of Glassmaking was founded, which is considered to be the oldest school for this discipline in Central Europe. In the beginning there were only the traditional departments for glass painting and cutting, but departments were subsequently added for the design and construction of lighting fixtures and for glass engraving. Thanks to the excellent facilities available at the school, students have been able since the early 1990s to also learn glass blowing at a melting furnace, making glass sculptures out of molten glass, sheet glass slumping in the electric furnace, printing glass panes (vitreography), and the use of computer graphics. The training takes four years and ends with a qualification for university studies.

While at first the school oriented its teaching on industry requirements for skilled glass cutters, engravers and painters, changes in the field soon demanded the cultivation of artistic talent as well. The glassmaking school therefore not only offers training for future specialists in the glass industry but also prepares particularly talented students for studies at an art academy. Many distinguished glass artists have come out of the Secondary School of Glassmaking in Kamenický Šenov. The list of graduates reads like a who’s who of the Czech glass scene.

Ever since its foundation, the glassmaking school has exerted a major influence on the development of the glass industry in terms of art, craft and technology – throughout the school’s history, its headmasters, teachers and graduates have made a vital contribution to sustaining the high level of Czech glass art. This is amply evident from the works by graduates and teachers from the Kamenický Šenov school that are on view in our latest exhibition. They all reflect the high aesthetic and craftsmanship standards of the training there. The Glasmuseum Lette is thus carrying on its tradition of offering pupils and students a forum for presenting their artistic development and treatment of the material of glass.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to the school’s headmaster Pavel Kopřiva, an artist in his own right, and to the gallerist Daniela Welti, who have provided us with invaluable assistance in organising this exhibition!


Photo above:

Karolína Kopřivová, Forest flower, 2017 – Foto Vladimir Labaj, Jiří Koudelka



Martin Novák, Engraved plate, 2008 – Foto Vladimir Labaj, Jiří Koudelka

Ladislav Průcha, Alter Ego, 2013 – Foto Jiří Koudelka

Pavel Kopřiva, The squirrel, 2017 – Foto Dagmar Petrovická

Nazerke Toleutay, Fish, 2014 – Foto Vladimir Labaj, Jiří Koudelka

Kateřina Fabiánová, Light object, 2011 – Foto Vladimir Labaj, Jiří Koudelka

Ondřej Skok, Untitled, 2011 – Foto Vladimir Labaj, Jiří Koudelka

Marie Jindrová, Idol 1, 2014 – Foto Vladimir Labaj, Jiří Koudelka

Dagmar Pánková, Pillows, 2009 – Foto Vladimir Labaj, Jiří Koudelka