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Clear and Gold Tower

Chihuly, Dale
American (1941- )
Place made: 
North America; United States; Washington; Seattle
Clear and Gold Tower, 2013
Blown glass, gold leaf, and steel
Overall: 150 in x 78 in x 78 in; 381 cm x 198.1 cm x 198.1 cm
Gift of the Centennial Class of 1937
MH 2013.34

Clear and Gold Tower was commissioned from prominent American glass artist Dale Chihuly by the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum with funding from the Centennial Class of 1937. It was inspired by an earlier piece—the Palazzo Ducale Tower —which the artist made during his 1995-1996 Chihuly Over Venice project. More than 450 pieces of hand-blown glass shimmering with gold leaf comprise this remarkable work of art.

Chihuly and his team created the Clear and Gold Tower for Mount Holyoke in response to the library’s neo-Renaissance courtyard designed in 1992 by Boston architect Graham Gund. The tower is mounted within an Italian wellhead—a gift from the architect—that dates to 1540. According to inscriptions on its exterior, the marble well once served as the water source for the Venetian abbey of San Cipriano on the island of Murano, a famed center for glassblowing from the 13th century to the present day.