An exhibition of 19th century Orientalist glass inspired by Islamic art traditions is getting under way at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization on 21 October.
The exhibition, entitled Orientalist Glass Art – Masterpieces from the Museum of J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna features almost 90 items of glass art created over the last 200 years by J. & L. Lobmeyr, one of Austria’s oldest and foremost crystal glass manufacturers, in family hands since 1823.
Orientalist Glass Art is the first ever exhibition of 19th century Orientalist glass in the Gulf region and includes spectacular artefacts that have never been on display since their production in the 19th century.
Most of the designs on the glassworks are inspired by the Islamic art traditions of Mamluk Egypt and Syria, Nasirid Spain, Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India. One of the most outstanding highlights of the exhibition is a chandelier in the Arab-Islamic style designed by J. & L. Lobmeyr for the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah al Munawwara.
Most of the artefacts, which come from the Lobmeyr family’s private museum in Vienna, are shown with their original designs and work drawings.
Leonid Rath, managing co-director of J. & L. Lobmeyr says: “The exhibition of our Orientalist Glass at the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization highlights the profound influence of traditional Arab-Islamic art on Austrian and European design and architecture.
“Showing this exhibition in Sharjah is a great opportunity to not only present Austrian arts and crafts in the Arab world but also to demonstrate the interaction between our cultures.”
The chandelier designs which Lobmeyr contributed to the Holy Mosques in Makkah and Madinah and to other mosques in Islamic countries illustrate their commitment to create contemporary works that respect and celebrate local culture and preserve the artistic achievements of Arab-Islamic styles.
Manal Ataya, director of Sharjah Museums Department, says: “This exhibition is truly unique with regard to its theme and the exquisite quality of its artefacts. It represents a rare opportunity for Sharjah residents and visitors to experience a little known but important aspect of 19th century European Orientalist art, with its enthusiasm and respect for Middle Eastern art traditions.”
Orientalist Glass Art – Masterpieces from the Museum of J. & L. Lobmeyr, Vienna runs until 16th January, 2016.