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In Memoriam: Jiří Harcuba

Renowned Czech engraver Jiří Harcuba passed away the morning of July 26. Harcuba was born in Harrachov, in what is now the Czech Republic, into a glassmaking family, and his admiration for the famous 19th-century Bohemian engraver Dominik Biman led him to learn the craft. He apprenticed in the region’s renowned engraving studios, developing his hand at portrait engraving and medallions. He received a classical education in glass and sculpture at the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague, where he was appointed director in 1990.

Jiří Harcuba first visited the United States in 1983. Tom Buechner, the director of The Corning Museum of Glass, invited Jiří to Corning. In '83 Dale Chihuly invited him to Pilchuck, where at the time cold working scarcely existed. In 1984, he returned to Pilchuck to set up a facility for cold working glass and the following year, as an artist in residence, he created a program of engraving.

Jiří became a frequent visitor to States, crisscrossing the country to meet fellow engravers, demonstrate the potential of engraving, and to teach. In a master class video made at Corning in 1998, he referred to himself as the Johnny Appleseed of glass engraving in America.

Jiří's work was first shown in the U.S. in the 1979 show New Glass: A Worldwide Survey, which after being exhibited in Corning traveled to four other venues in the United States, and then to the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

In addition to founding the Dominik Biman School, a traveling glass studio dedicated to teaching traditional glass techniques, Harcuba has taught around the world at institutions including the Pilchuck Glass School, the Corning Museum of Glass, the Royal Academy of Art in London, and the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague. He is the recipient of the 1995 Rakow Commission from the Corning Museum of Glass, 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from UrbanGlass and the Glass Art Society Lifetime Achievement award in 2007.

Click here to read a memorial written by April Surgent, who Harcuba mentored.

| Posted 13 Jul 26

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