How Dale Chihuly’s Featured Exhibition At The Biltmore Came To Be

Those who aren’t familiar with the works of Dale Chihuly had a one-of-a-kind chance to see them on full display at an exhibition held at the Biltmore estate last year. The final exhibition with the end result of weeks of work to install 16 large glass sculptures around the house and estate.

Horticulture director Parker Andes noted that the estate, the former gardens, conservatory, and home of George Vanderbilt, have always posed a unique backdrop for the various art exhibitions that take place here. Built back in the 1890s, Andes mentioned how the Biltmore has a scale that’s really hard to work with.” Andes added that he has a difficult time expressive how the landscapes show off the art.

Those who are familiar with Chihuly would likely instantly recognize the two wooden boats filled with glass in the pools at the Italian Garden, which instantly harken back to the exhibition that put Chihuly on the map in the art world: 1996’s “Chihuly Over Venice.” That work was the payoff to over a year of research Dale Chihuly did with local glass factory masters, installing massive chandeliers across Venice, creating an international interest.

Today, he and his Seattle-based team of glassblowers, engineers, and other craftsmen have also put together other international exhibitions, seen in locations like Jerusalem, London, Chicago, Naples, and New York. However, when it comes to the Biltmore, Chihuly Studios director of exhibitions Britt Cornet had to admit that there was a never a setting quite like this that they worked on.

Even though this opportunity was something that both sides had worked on, it took four years of stringent planning for the exhibition to become a reality. In addition, there were some skeletal talks that took place even before that. In his 70s, Dale Chihuly himself doesn’t do a lot of press interviews but mentioned how excited he was about the show while expressing his thanks to the Biltmore team for making it a reality.

This includes a lot of work from Andes and his team. Andes mentioned how every single installation began as a general idea. At that point, he created a group of plants and textures for each sculpture, with the goal not to just mimic the work, but create complements and contrasts. While it’s not likely that you’re going to be able to bring any of these installations home, Dale Chihuly’s work is a great addition to any collection, so be sure to keep an eye out for art and antique auctions in Dania Beach that may have come up for bidding.