Bertil Vallien, one of the truly groundbreaking figures in Swedish glass art, was born in Stockholm in 1938. His father was a master painter and pastor of an independent church, his mother a housewife. Vallien was the second of seven children. The gifted young man soon tired of school and took a job as a decorator at PUB, one of the Swedish capital’s largest department stores. Shortly thereafter, though, he began studying art at Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. He graduated at the top of his class in 1961 and was awarded a Royal Foundation grant.
The grant funded travels in the United States and Mexico between 1961 and 1963, giving him the freedom to achieve his first success as a ceramist in California. Together with his wife and fellow Konstfack graduate Ulrica Hydman-Vallien, he then returned to Sweden and moved to the glassmaking region of Småland. He had been recruited by the legendary glasshouse director Erik Rosén. Vallien immediately began to work in both glass and metal, and soon began to experiment with glass-casting.
1961-63 Studies in the United States and Mexico on a Royal Scholarship
1957-61 Studies at the National College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden
Freelance designer for Kosta Boda glassworks Sweden since 1963
Teaching positions and workshop leader at art schools and universities in the US and Europe.
1967-84 Head of glass design programme at the College of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden
1974 Visiting lecturer and designer t conferences and schools in the USA and Europe
1980-96 Visiting lecturer at the Pilchuck Glass Center, Stanwood, Washington
1984-86 Artist in Residence at the Pilchuck Glass Center, Washington
1985 Artist in Residence at the Rhode Island School of Design
1993 New York Experimental Glass Workshop, New York, U.S.A.
1993 Pratt Fine Art Center, Seattle, U.S.A.
1994 University of Hawaii at Manau, U.S.A.
1996 North Lands Creative Glass, Scotland
1999 University of Sunderland, England Visiting professor
Selected Public Collections
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, NY. USA.
HM de Young Museum, San Francisco, USA
Yokohama Art Museum, Yokohama, Japan.
The state Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg. Russia.
Museum of Arts and Design, NY, NY. USA.
The Art Institute .Chicago USA
National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden.
VIDA Museum, Sweden. Permanent wing.
Everson Museum, NY. USA.
Dusseldorf Museum of Fine Arts, Germany.
Indianapolis Art Museum, Indianapolis. USA
Trondheim Art Museum. Norway.
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto. Japan.
Absolut Collection. NY.NY. USA
National Museum of Art. Tokyo. Japan.
The Prescott Collection at Pacific First Centre. Seattle, USA.
Detroit Art Institute, Detroit, MI, USA.
Yokohama Art Museum. Yokohama. Japan.
The Powerhouse Museum. Sydney. Australia.
Museum fur Kunst und Gewerbe. Hamburg. Germany.
Mint Museum of Art and Design. Charlotte, NC, USA.
Museo de Vidrio. Monterrey. Mexico.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA.
1961 College of Arts, Crafts and Design Scholarship and medal for best student
1961 Royal Scholarship
1962 First prize,”Young Americans”, Museum of Contemporary Crafts, NY, U.S.A.
1965 Östersund Cultural Scholarship
1967 The Illum Prize
1968 Swedish State Major Work Scholarship
1981 Chosen by ”Japan Interior Design Magazine” as the most influential designer in his field
1983 First prize for Swedish Design, National Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
1983 Cultural Scholarship, Municipality of Emmaboda, Sweden
1984 ”Excellent Swedish Design” prize
1985 Second prize, Zweiter Coburger Glaspreis, Coburg, Germany
1985 Silver medal, International Juried Art Competition, New York, U.S.A.
1988 The Formland Prize, Denmark
1988 ”Excellent Swedish Design”, honourable mention for Provence tableware
1990 Diploma, Nordform, Malmö, Sweden
1991 The Formland Prize, Denmark
1994 Cultural Scholarship, The South Swedish Chamber of Commerce, Sweden
1995 Urban Glass Award for ”Outstanding Achievement in Glass”, NY, U.S.A.
1995 Prince Eugen’s medal for ”Outstanding Achievement in Arts”, Sweden
2001 Visionaries Award 2001, Museum of Art and Design, New York USA
2002 Honorary doctorate, University of Växjö, Sweden
2003 Honorary Doctor of Philosophy. University of Växjö, Sweden
2004 Award in recognition of The Promotion of Contemporary Glass, Art in the world.
Museum Del vidrio Monterrey, Mexico
2004 The Wilson award. New Orleans. USA
2005 Gold medal, Royal Academy of Science, Stockholm, Sweden
2008 the Libensky Award
2008 Drury, John. Glass Quarterly, Review, Spring, No. 110, pg. 62
2002 Kangas, Matthew. Somna Vakna, University of Washington Press, Seattle
1998 Glass Eats Light. Gunnar Lindquist Carlson's förlag, publisher
1997 Rådström, Niclas. Headbook, Kamras, Kamras Publisher
1995 Nilsson, Peter. Anod, Norstedts förlag, Sweden
Fiat Lux, (book on the altarpiece for Växjö Cathedral) Carlsson Bokförlag, Stockholm, Sweden
Sand cast glass 3.54 x 25.59 x 3.93"
Checking Out, 2017
Sand cast glass on gold leafed, wood panel 43 x 4 x 2.75"
Cast glass 5.5 x 5.82 x 5.7"
Sand cast glass mounted on painted panel 42.5 x 5.5 x 4.75"
Core II 2016
Cast glass 5.25 x 5.75 x 5.75"
Cast glass 3.94 x 5.3 x 5.3"
Cast glass mounted on painted and collage panel 14.125 x 10.25 x 2.875"
Cast glass 45 x 42.72 x 3.94"
Intruder IV, 2017
Cast glass 8 x 6 x 6"
Janus #3, 2016
Sand cast glass 8.25 x 11.75 x 6"
Protocol II, 2016
Sand cast glass 16.125 x 33 x 7.75"
Sand cast glass 13.38 x 16.92 x 3.15"
Tomb of Saint, 2011
Sand cast glass mounted on painted panel 30 x 17.25 x 3.5"