Artist Richard Marquis works in a studio on Whidbey Island, Washington that is part 16th century kunst und wunderkammen and part retro auto body shop. His encyclopedic collection of ordinary things—from baseball gloves to boat motors, lanterns to license plates, tools to toys—reflects the artist’s interests and becomes inspiration for his work. Marquis has been extraordinarily influential in the arena of contemporary studio glass in America and around the world. He studied ceramics and glass at the University of California, Berkeley during the 1960s. He received their Eisner Prize for Design and the President’s Undergraduate Fellowship, enabling him to build his own glassblowing studio. In 1969, through a Fullbright-Hayes Fellowship, Marquis spent a year working at the Venini Fabbrica in Murano, Italy. Over the years, he has returned there many times to hone his skill and learn more from the masters.
As an artist, Marquis is admired for his sophisticated understanding of color and form as much as for his humor and willingness to experiment. As a glassblower, he has influenced an entire generation of artists working in glass who aspire to his technical mastery and the originality of his voice.
Marquis’ time in Murano ignited his interest in murrine, and he has spent his career mastering—and pushing the limits—of the technique. In 1972, he produced his famous Lord’s Prayer Murrina, as part of his UC Berkeley master’s thesis. In 1990, he begins his series of Marquiscarpa, pieces based on the work Carlo Scarpa did at Venini with Lino Tagliapietra. Marquis is admired for his sophisticated understanding of color and form, as much for his humor and willingness to experiment. He has exhibited extensively across the world, from the Seattle Art Museum to The Hague to Asia. He has always freely shared his knowledge by teaching and demonstrating throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand; his glassblowing has influenced an entire generation of artists working in glass who aspire to his technical mastery and the originality of his voice.
Among his recent awards are: Neddy Artist Fellowship, Seattle (2010); James Renwick Alliance Masters of the Medium Award from Smithsonian Institute (2009); Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Alliance of Contemporary Glass (2006) and the Glass Art Society (2005); Elected to College of Fellows of the American Craft Council (New York; 1995); Fulbright-Hayes Grant to study in New Zealand (1982 and 1988); NEA Grants (1974, 78, 81, 90). A monograph Richard Marquis Objects was published on his work in 1997, and his work is represented in nearly fifty public collections.