Baccarat, French, Garland on white "stardust" carpet ground, mid-19th century. Glass, 2 3/16 x 3 3/16 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards, 1969.75.51

Small Worlds

April 7, 2018 - May 29, 2019

Ann K. Walch-Chan Gallery

Small Worlds highlights different techniques, styles, and various types of paperweights from the 19th century, the classic period for paperweight manufacture, to present day. This exhibition features works from the classic period by European glass factories like French crystal manufacturers Baccarat, Clichy, and Saint-Louis. Paperweight production all but ceased in late 19th century Europe, but was revived in the mid-20th century in both Europe and the United States. Independent artists experimented with new designs, techniques, and materials. Some of the earliest contemporary paperweights in Small Worlds were created by Charles Kaziun and Dominick Labino, both members of the Studio Glass Movement. Numerous works by Paul Stankard, Rick Ayotte, and Cathy Richardson as well as artworks by seventeen other contemporary paperweight makers are also featured.

Paperweights continue to be a popular art object today, and manufacturers and artists all over the world have enlarged the scope, scale, design and fabrication of this diminutive object. This exhibition not only features a vast collection of historical European paperweights from the FIA’s permanent collection but also a large variety of contemporary paperweights from important private collections.


Now Available

Paperweights: Highlights from the Flint Institute of Arts Collection

(hardcover; 248 pages; $24.95)

This exhibition catalog features more than 140 weights from the Classic Period (1845–1860) of French manufacturers Baccarat, Clichy, and Saint-Louis, to works by contemporary artists Josh Simpson and Debbie Tarsitano, from the collections of Mrs. Viola E. Bray and Mrs. Genevieve Shaw. Kathryn Sharbaugh, FIA Director of Development, serves as guest curator to research and write about the history of paperweights, as well as highlight their various styles, techniques, and categories. This book is published in conjunction with the exhibition Small Worlds, which presents a survey of glass paperweights from the 19th century to the present. Support for the catalogue provided by the Bray Charitable Trust.

From the Exhibition

  • Rick Ayotte, American, b. 1944. Terror in the Treetops1999. Glass. 3 x 3 3/4 inches. Collection of Gordon Park.

  • Paul Stankard, American, b. 1943, Rose Bouquet with James Joyce in a Potato Orb, 2007. Glass, 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches. Private collection 

  • Clichy, French. Concentric millefiori, pink and white Clichy rose canes, in pink and white stave basket, 19th century. Glass. 1 11/16 x 2 7/16 inches. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Richards, FIA 1969.75.48

  • Baccarat, French, founded 1764. Snake on Rocky Ground, ca. 1850. Glass. Diameter 2 7/8 inches. Museum purchase with funds from the Jill Ford Murray Irrevocable Trust in memory of her parents, Carlotta Espy Ford and George Ross Ford, Jr., and her grandparents, Grace Miller Ford and George Ross Ford, 2013.20

  • Debbie Tarsitano, American, b. 1955. Birthday Paperweight in Development, 1981. Glass. Diameter 3 1/8 inches. Gift of Genevieve and Richard Shaw, 2008.215