Marvin Bentley Lipofsky

Marvin Bentley Lipofsky (September 1, 1938 – January 15, 2016) was a renowned American glass artist and a key figure in the early days of the Studio Glass movement. As one of the original six students mentored by Harvey Littleton, the founder of Studio Glass, Lipofsky participated in a groundbreaking program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison during the fall of 1962 and the spring of 1963. This education played a pivotal role in shaping his career and contributions to glass art.
Lipofsky played a pivotal role in introducing and expanding the Studio Glass movement in California through his teaching positions at the University of California, Berkeley, and the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Education and teaching career
Marvin Lipofsky was raised in Barrington, Illinois, where his family ran a department store. He received a BFA in Industrial Design from the University of Illinois in 1962 and later earned an MS and an MFA in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1964. There, he studied under Harvey Littleton, a key figure in the Studio Glass Movement. Lipofsky played a crucial role in spreading the movement's ideas during his time as a Design instructor at the University of California, Berkeley, until 1972, training many influential studio artists like John Lewis, Richard Marquis, and Jay Musler. He also led seminars and workshops at several prestigious institutions, including Pilchuck Glass School and Columbus College of Art and Design, and traveled internationally as a visiting artist. Lipofsky passed away from diabetes complications on January 15, 2016.

Founder and collaborator
In 1967, Marvin Lipofsky established the glass program at the California College of Arts and Crafts, leading it for two decades. He also co-founded the Glass Art Society (G.A.S.), serving as its president from 1978 to 1980. Notably, Lipofsky was among the first American glass artists to visit Czechoslovakia, engaging with the studio glass movement that emerged there in the 1950s. This visit marked the beginning of numerous international trips, during which he collaborated with glass artists worldwide, enhancing his reputation for global artistic cooperation.

Marvin Lipofsky is renowned for his colorful, semi-translucent glass "bubbles" that allow viewers to explore their depths. His work, noted for its organic forms, reflects the influence of internal organs with its mottled, crumpled shapes that convey turbulence and restlessness. Studio Glass expert Dan Klein describes Lipofsky's art as visceral and gestural, exploring endless variations of turbulent, broken bubble forms. His glassblowing technique focuses on how a blown glass sphere can be manipulated into complex shapes. Tina Oldknow from the Corning Museum of Glass praises his commitment to material and form, highlighting how his vessels rearrange the glass mass while retaining an ephemeral quality, a key characteristic of the medium.

Marvin Lipofsky received numerous prestigious awards throughout his career, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass in Chicago in 2005 and a Masters of the Medium Award from the James Renwick Alliance at the Smithsonian Institution in 2003. He was named an Honorary Lifetime Member of the Glass Art Society in 1986 and declared a California Living Treasure in 1985. Additionally, Lipofsky was a recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants in 1976 and 1974.

Marvin Lipofsky's work is held in numerous prestigious collections both in the United States and internationally. In the U.S., his pieces are featured at institutions such as the Corning Museum of Glass in New York; High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Oakland Museum in California; Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio. Internationally, his work is included in collections at the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark; Frauenau Glass Museum in Germany; Museum Bellerive in Zürich, Switzerland; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam, Holland; National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan; and Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Sapporo, Japan.

The artist resided in Berkeley, California. He is an alumnus of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.


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