On the small island of San Giorgio Maggiore just opposite St Mark’s Square sits Le Stanze del Vetro, ‘The Glass Rooms’. A joint initiative between The Cini Foundation and Swiss-based, non-profit foundation Pentagram Stiftung, Le Stanze is an internationally recognized gallery of 20th Century and contemporary glass. Here you might find Le Stanze’s founder, David Landau, walking the beautiful daylit rooms or strategizing the next exhibition. With an unparalleled private collection of approximately 2,500 glass art works by Venini, a prominent Murano glassworks, Landau is a modern glass enthusiast with a passion for sharing his collection with the world.
Originally born in Israel, Landau moved to Italy when he was just five years old and undertook his schooling there which culminated in his becoming a medical doctor. A dramatic change of direction saw him later move to the United Kingdom to study Art History at Oxford University. While in England his interests grew more and more diverse.
In 1984, Landau founded Print Quarterly, an internationally published journal on the art of the print. He served as its editor for the next 27 years. A year later, Landau published the first-ever free classifieds magazine in London, a weekly paper named Loot, which quickly grew to become a national success.
Despite many entrepreneurial business endeavors, the lure of the art world was never far away. Landau helped curate a major exhibition on the Italian Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna that traveled from the Royal Academy of Arts in London to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1992. He has also authored numerous books, including The Renaissance Print with Peter Parshall, in 1996, which combined his love of the Renaissance period with the history of prints.
When Landau met his wife-to-be, Marie-Rose (Rosi) Kahane, he was introduced to glass as an art form and it wasn’t long before rumors of an institution in Corning, NY, solely dedicated to the material, reached his ears.
“When I first became interested in glass, I could not avoid hearing all the time about the wonderous Corning Museum of Glass,” Landau says. “It was universally described to me as the greatest museum of glass in the world!”
As a result, Landau’s connection to the Museum has been a long and treasured one. He enjoys the wide-ranging collections, the programming, and the Museum’s intrinsic connection to its guests, be they first-timers just dipping their toes into the glassy waters or great experts. He also admires the Museum’s ambition and, after many years away, is keen to return and marvel at the addition of the 26,000-square-foot Contemporary Art + Design Galleries, opened in 2015.
Indeed, there is much to admire about both The Corning Museum of Glass and Le Stanze del Vetro, for as Landau says: “They have the same goal, to introduce glass to as many people as possible and to make them aware of its history, beauty, importance, and function.”
Significantly, Landau was instrumental in bringing the exhibition Glass of the Architects: Vienna, 1900–1937, to CMoG in 2018, two years after its inaugural showing at Le Stanze. He believes such partnerships should serve to bring the two organizations even closer. “Both institutions have a scholarly but at the same time a highly enjoyable and people-friendly approach to showing glass,” Landau says. “It makes complete sense to partner when possible, as was the case with Glass of the Architects, which saw both institutions collaborate with the MAK in Vienna most successfully.”
Landau became a Fellow of The Corning Museum of Glass in 2013 and joined the Museum’s prestigious Ennion Society as a member in 2016. He recognizes this as a valuable way to support the Museum from afar and continue to strengthen the ties between Venice and Corning.