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Art glass by Maurice Marinot National Museum Cardiff

Maurice Marinot was a pioneer of the art of glass, beginning his artistic career as a painter, one of the Fauves (‘Wild Beasts’) of French art whose bold use of pure colour earned them the nickname.

Marinot was to be equally bold when working with glass. He discovered glass in 1911 when visiting the glass works of Gabriel and Eugène Viard at Bar-sur-Seine.

He worked there until 1937, mastering the glassmaker’s art and using only hand methods to create unique objects.

For Marinot glass was a muscular and expressive material. He rejected the label of decorative art, insisting that his work was as free as painting or sculpture.

His aim was ‘to rediscover in its gleaming stillness that life of the human breath which will evoke living beauties.’

The objects in this display show the full range of Marinot’s glassmaking skills. He blew and worked the hot glass, acid-etched and wheel-cut it when cold.

He encased coloured glass within clear glass like geological strata. Hot glass plunged into cold water created the effect of cracked ice. Carefully controlled bubbles suggest moving water.

‘This material which is born in a struggle, in fire, in smoke, which in turn resists or obeys, which obeys when I force it while respecting its nature.’ (Maurice Marinot)

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Maurice Marinot, design for a glass vase, 1923
Maurice Marinot, glass bottle, 1929