Dan Dailey (b. 1947)
In a career spanning over four decades, glass artist Dan Dailey has gained international recognition as a leader in the contemporary art glass movement. A technical master with a genius for design, Dailey’s creations include architectural glass installations, blown glass sculptures, and functional objects, at times blending these genres, as seen in his whimsical figural sconces and chandeliers.
Daily currently lives and works in Kensington, New Hampshire, with his wife and fellow artist Linda MacNeil, known for her studio jewelry designs in glass and metal.
Born in Philadelphia on February 4, 1947, Dailey earned a BFA from Philadelphia College of Fine Art in 1969, where he was introduced to glassblowing by Roland Jahn (Jahn studied glassmaking with Harvey Littleton, and founded the first glass program at Philadelphia College of the Arts, known today as The University of the Arts). Dailey received an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in 1972. He studied under Dale Chihuly at RISD, where he was integral in establishing their glass studio and developing concepts for illuminated sculptures. After graduation from RISD, Dailey earned a Fulbright Hayes Fellowship, granting him the opportunity to work at the Venini Glass Factory in Murano, Italy as an independent artist/designer.
Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Dailey began working at Massachusetts College of Art. He quickly established their glass program and became head of the Department by 1974; he is currently a professor emeritus at the College. He has also taught at Pilchuk Glass School, an institution founded by his former teacher, Dale Chihuly.
In 1976, invited by August Daum’s nephew, Jacques, Dan Dailey began his relationship with the renowned Cristallerie Daum studio in Nancy, France. Dailey is one of only three American artists to work with Daum, (a firm that has collaborated with international artists such as Salvador Dalí and Fernand Léger), and his relationship with this iconic studio continues to the present day. Dailey has also designed for several other prominent firms including Herman Miller, Steuben Glass, Fenton Art Glass Company, and Waterford Crystal.
Dan Dailey and his staff of assistants are celebrated for exploring all the creative possibilities of glass as a medium, in techniques ranging from glass blowing to etching, sandblasting, coldworking and casting. His pieces often include the element of illumination, a method he’s developed through the years and shared as co-teacher of “Glass, Gas and Electricity” at MIT (with German artist Otto Piene).
Indeed, the manipulation of light is at the core of many of Dailey’s designs. Among his more than 20 public and private commissions is the famous Orbit (1987), a 15- by 8-foot backlit glass relief mural originally created for Rockefeller Center’s Rainbow Room. Orbit’s light scheme glows in shades of rose, blue, violet and amber, the colors changing according to the mood lighting of the exhibition space. After nearly three decades on display in situ, the piece was donated and moved to the Toledo Museum of Art in 2015.
Dailey serves as an Advisor to Urban Glass as well as The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He has received countless accolades and grants including a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, a Massachusetts Council on the Arts Fellowship, and a Masters Fellowship from the Creative Glass Center of America. His work has been collected by prominent institutions worldwide including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution (where he was given a major retrospective exhibition in1989), Boston’s Museum of Fine Art, the Corning Museum of Glass, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Works by Dan Dailey are highly sought after by collectors and can easily command five figures on the secondary market.