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About Us – Past and Present

Ivan Novotný
Ivan Novotný, 2007

The company for processing melted glass was established by Ivan Novotný (1959). His life from the begining was very much influenced by glass processing, but not just by common glass production in nearby Železný Brod glasshouses but also by modern artistic creations. His father, Jan Novotný (1929-2005), was one of the outstanding experts contributing since 1960 to the development of the new line of studio glass art. His outstanding work in Czech as well as alien collections consisted mainly of large glass vessels with vigorous application of abstract painting. He was involved for many years at the Secondary School of Applied Arts for Glassmaking in Zelezny Brod as head of the glass studio. His son, Ivan Novotný, graduated there also, specializing in the fabrication of glass.

After graduation he joined the Železný Brod Glass Company, where he had the opportunity to become familiar with new groundbreaking technologies of molding melted glass. Since 1982 he collaborated with the now legendary couple, the world leading artists, Professor Stanislav Libenský and Jaroslava Brychtová, who developed this new technique of working with glass from small decorative objects to large monumental sculptures. Many of their pupils including Jaromir Rybak, Ales Vasicek, Stanislav Kostka , etc. arrived at the Železný Brod Glass Company to create their art pieces.

The new technology of melting glass into forms was a major change in the application of glass in applied art. The technology emerged as the most progressive trend for studio work and was an inspiration to the world of art. It opened new ways to work with glass and at the same time highlighted the need for careful study of melting technology, improving and enriching it with new techniques. With experience on complicated projects for architecture and specific glass sculptures, Ivan Novotny decided in 1994 to open his own shop. Soon thereafter he managed to establish a team working in the company of experienced professionals capable of providing artists with comprehensive services, from consultation in the actual creation of pieces with regard to melting, through the creation of molds including melting followed by grinding and expert installation as applied to architecture and open space.

His personal inclination to large size sculptures has led him to install large furnaces in which it would be possible to produce unique pieces of art. The completed works fascinate the onlooker by their fine and subtle light effects of glass in conjunction with the massive form. The company of Ivan Novotny operates currently six furnaces between medium and large size used in the industry, which can fabricate glass sculptures weighing over 550 kg and over 2 meters in size. The shop produced commisions for a dozen of leading Czech and International artists like prof. Stanislav Libenský, Jaroslava Brychtová, Bohumil Eliáš,Václav Cigler, Jaromír Rybák, Aleš Vašíček, Jan Exnar, Vlastimil Beránek, Ivana Šrámková, Ivan Mareš,Milan Handl, Marián Karel, Ján Zoričák, Štěpán Palu, Zora Palová, Howard Ben Tré, Leifur Bretfjörd, Ann Wolf, and many others . It is necessary to recall some of the commissions associated with the installation of works in open spaces, such as sculptures of John Exnar in one branch of the Czech National Bank in Hradec Kralove, the large windows of Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova for the Royal Chapel in the Špilberk castle in Brno, sculptures of Štěpán and Zora Palu for the Glass Museum in Sunderland, UK, and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, USA, the baptismal font of Leifur Breidfjörda for the Hallgrímskirkja cathedral in Reykjavik, Iceland, sculptures for the Museum of International Art in Riga, and many others.

Future intentions are to expand business activities in the field of metallurgical processing of glass. The aim is to produce glass as raw material for melting in various forms , as well as launching in cooperation with renowned artists - glassmakers the production of original small-scale utility and decorative items. The family tradition passed from father Ivan Novotny to his son Jan, who also graduated from the Secondary School of Applied Arts for Glassmaking in Zelezny Brod. Since Jan took over the leadership of the workshop from his father, he is constantly working in improving the process of melting glass, developing new technologies and innovations.

Glass in the 20th century became a regular sculptural material with means to apply exceptional expressive possibilities of the mysterious play of light in the interior modeling of sculptures and/or amazing color transformation in subsequently ground shapes. The Ivan Novotny company is the intermediary enabling these unprecedented master pieces to fascinate the public world-wide.

Mgr. Ivo Kren, Pardubice, 2011