Chihuly Glass Dazzles the Spencer

Dale Chihuly at the Spencer Theater, Ruidoso, NMDale Chihuly’s variegated glass sculptures, blazing with color and squirming with life, are considered the foremost glass art in the world.

Frequently called the Tiffany of the 21st century, the works of the Seattle based artist are recognized as the "most collectible" contemporary artist by the tony magazine Robb Report in its 11th annual "Best of the Best" report.

His amazing hand-blown creations are the only fine art to adorn the monumental Spencer Theater, which features a permanent Chihuly collection on par with that of major studios and galleries. His staggering works are also in the homes of Queen Elizabeth II, the presidents of Italy, and France, the White House, and in several great museums such as the Louvre and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The Spencer Theater houses the largest private collection in the Southwest open to public viewing.


The Spencer collection includes:

GLOWING SUNSET TOWER, a 14-foot glass tower of squiggling bows of red and orange. The 564-piece sculpture dominates the theater’s Crystal Lobby. Seemingly alive with movement and fire, the alarming sculpture weighs 1,200-pounds and tapers in conical form from the crystal lobby ceiling to its base on the floor.

Dale Chihuly's Glowing Sunset Tower at the Spencer Theater, Ruidoso, NM Dale Chihuly at the Spencer Theater, Ruidoso, NM

INDIAN PAINT BRUSHES, a unique, one-of-a-kind 177 piece sculpture inspired by the wild flowers of New Mexico, features Red Hot Poker flowers (lengths of 1.4-feet to 4.3-feet) of yellow and red that launch from two stone bases in the theater’s atrium.

Indian Paint Brushes at the Spencer Theater, Ruidoso, NM. Dale Chihuly Chihuly at the Spencer

THE PERSIANS, which are among Chihuly’s most popular series of works, are reminiscent of petals or a massive burst of fireworks. Located along the upper crystal lobby wall, the 36-piece display is a bright mosaic of colors.

The Persians by Dale Chihuly at the Spencer Theater, Ruidoso, NM Persians by Dale Chihuly at the Spencer Theater, Ruidoso, NM

COBALT BLUE BASKETS: (A gift from Chihuly to the late Jackie Spencer, founder and chief benefactor of the Spencer Theater) Like a series of ships in a bottle, these six bowl-like baskets are held within the womb of an 18-inch wide, cobalt blue mother basket. The woven basket works of Native Americans, particularly those of the Taos Pueblo, inspired the glass sculpture. The Cobalt Blue Baskets are displayed within a glass case on the second floor of the Crystal lobby.

Cobalt Blue Baskets

RUBY SEA GARDEN & CHANDELLIER: located within the exclusive Founder's Room and loggia on the second floor of the theater, the nine-piece Garden features 190 rippling tentacles of translucent ruby glass. The chandelier, utterly dramatic and delicate, hangs from the ceiling of the loggia. The work also features rippling ruby glass and tentacles as long as six feet in length.

Dale Chihuly's Ruby Sea Garden at the Spencer Theater, Ruidoso, NMThe general public may view the Spencer collection during performance hours and on weekly tours of the theater, Tuesday and Thursdays at 10 a.m. Call (575) 336-4800 for information.

Photos by Brad Cooper, Spencer Theater.