Notable Acquisitions: Robert Kehlmann collection

Robert Kehlmann’s blocks of calligraphic lines and bands of gold in Millennium Byōbu II (1998) challenge our assumptions about traditional stained and architectural glass. This maquette, for a glass and mixed-media panel now at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco, refers to gilded Japanese folding screens. It comes from an archive of materials, donated by Kehlmann, that documents his lifetime of artistic and critical work.

Millennium Byōbu II maquette, Robert Kehlmann (1942- ), 1998 (CMGL 142488). Gift of Robert Kehlmann.

Millennium Byōbu II maquette, Robert Kehlmann (1942- ), 1998 (CMGL 142488). Gift of Robert Kehlmann.

Kehlmann was among the first to use the vocabulary of art criticism in his books and articles about contemporary glass painting and sculpture. His collection includes artist interviews, correspondence, and documentation for his book 20th Century Stained Glass: A New Definition. Kehlmann used this research to discuss developments in stained glass from the Art Nouveau period to the 1990s, encouraging his audience to re-examine contemporary glass panels in a fresh context. He also wrote The Inner Light: Sculpture by Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová (2002) and numerous articles.

The artist’s archive documents his studio work and exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide, as well as his writing, lectures, research, correspondence, and consulting work. It includes items from his personal library, photographs of the Libenský studios, and recorded interviews and conversations. Featured are works by Kehlmann himself: charcoal and acrylic paintings on canvas, three early works from the 1970s, one work from 2007, and the maquette. Among the archive’s other materials are a collection of graphics by the 20th-century German masters Georg Meistermann, Johannes Schreiter, and Ludwig Schaffrath, and photo archives from the American stained glass artist Peter Mollica.

For further reading, see “Robert Kehlmann: Aspects of Meaning,” in Matthew Kangas, Craft and Concept: The Rematerialization of the Art Object, New York: Midmarch Arts Press, 2006, pp. 242–245; and Robert Kehlmann, 20th Century Stained Glass: A New Definition, Kyoto: Kyoto Shoin, 1992.

See works by Robert Kehlmann in the collection.


The Rakow Research Library is open to the public 9am to 5pm every day. We encourage everyone to explore our collections in person or online. If you have questions or need help with your research, please use our Ask a Glass Question service.

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