PULLMAN – An iconic work by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly recently assumed a public place of honor in the CUB at Washington State University.
The large piece of blown glass was given to WSU last fall by the Chihuly Studio in honor of longtime Seattle area businessman and civic booster Biff Brotherton. Brotherton (’65), who died in January, was an avid Coug and longtime WSU supporter.
“Dale Chihuly is arguably the most renowned artist in the Northwest; indeed, he is one of Seattle’s most well-known personalities of any kind,” said Chris Bruce, director of the WSU Museum of Art. “His work is in the significant private and museum collections throughout the world.”
“Though much of Biff’s legacy will be associated with Cougar Athletics, he appreciated art and understood its importance at WSU,” said Mike Connell, director of planned giving for the WSU Foundation.
Upon receiving the substantial gift, Bruce and Jill Aesoph, director of development for the WSU Museum of Art, knew it should be displayed where many could enjoy it, Aesoph said. It was installed earlier this year in a secure case on the first floor, just outside CUB administration offices.
“Placement in the CUB provides deserving exposure to Biff and Mr. Chihuly,” Connell said.
Along with the innovations Chihuly has developed in his own work, he has stimulated cross-disciplinary collaborations by countless artists through the Pilchuck Glass School, which he co-founded, Bruce said.
“It was largely through his efforts that an entirely new art market was created in art glass,” he said. “The Museum of Art permanent collection includes three other works by Chihuly from different series.”
The Brotherton piece is part of the “macchia” series. It is titled, “Coral Red Black Macchia with Saffron Lip Wrap, 2007.” See more macchia, as well as other series created by Chihuly, here.
Brotherton, whose five children also attended the university, was WSU Dad of the Year in 1986. He was presented with the Weldon B. “Hoot” Gibson Distinguished Volunteer Award in 2000.
The art work was presented to Brotherton at a dinner in Seattle in September.
“It is beautiful,” Connell said, “and Biff was really touched.”