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A Passion for Glass at National Museum Cardiff

This December, visitors to National Museum Cardiff will be able to enjoy a brand new exhibition focusing on the work of French glassmaker Maurice Marinot, who was a pioneer in the development of glass as a studio art form. Maurice Marinot: A Passion for Glass, opening on 20 December until June 2015, is an installation that will show the pioneering work of the studio artist who skilfully explored the potential of glass work.

Forty-four pieces of glass from the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Leicester Arts and Museum Service will be reunited and displayed together for the first time since they left the Marinot family in the 1960s and 1970s.

The exhibition will examine how the French artist Maurice Marinot (1882-1960) developed his original practice of oil painting through the medium of glass. Marinot’s pioneering approach to glass ignored conventional decoration and concentrated instead on the expressive power of pure colour and of the inherent qualities of the glass itself. He explored the use of the glass material to create his own highly experimental glass forms that he considered as fully equal to sculpture.

Associated with the Fauvist movement, Marinot had a passion for colour. He stretched the limits of his art, experimenting with glass and striking enamels to produce brightly coloured works of art.

The exhibition will look at various aspects of the life and the career of the artist. His first efforts with glass in 1911, and his early work as a decorator of glass, demonstrate his interest in nature and vibrant colour. Further works show his love of capturing the landscape, which he returned to in the years leading up to his death.

Also on display will be Marinot’s work on paper, which provides an introduction to his family life and was a constant focus for his art. Watercolour sketches also document his service in Morocco during World War I.

The installation will highlight the period beginning around 1922, when Marinot stopped decorating glass made for him by others and began to make and exhibit his own handmade glass.

The various techniques used, developed and perfected by Marinot, including enamelling, acid-etching, bubbled glass, crackled glass and hot modelling, will be explained to visitors.

Finally, sketches will illustrate Marinot’s interest in capturing street life during the period of the French occupation during the Second World War, as well as his continued interest in documenting domestic life and close friends.

Andrew Renton, Head of Applied Art for Amgueddfa Cymru said: “This is the first time that such a great selection of Maurice Marinot’s work has been reunited in Britain, and it is wonderful that it is on display for visitors to see at the National Museum Cardiff. With paintings and drawings shown alongside his colourful, sculptural glass objects, it will give visitors the opportunity to learn more about this important artist, who was a real pioneer in the development of glass as a serious art form.”

The exhibition will run until June 2015.

Entry to the Museum is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales: National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Drefach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.  

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