Dale Chihuly is the best-known glass artist in the United States. Trained at the University of Wisconsin and the Rhode Island School of Design, he received the first Fulbright Fellowship in glass and went to Venice in 1968 to study at Venini, the most progressive glass factory in Italy. In 1971 he established the Pilchuck Glass School near Seattle, the only American art school devoted entirely to glassmaking. His affinity for the Northwest is profound; he has strong ties to the landscape and great interest in the arts of the native peoples there. This particular work was inspired by the traditional woven baskets of the Haida and other Northwest Coast tribes.
Chihuly has moved from small-scale vases of recognizable form to art that transcends the boundaries of traditional glassmaking. As this "basket" demonstrates, he has abandoned functionalism in favor of large sculptural forms. Often he and his assistants work on a grand scale, creating large environments composed of many thousands of glass elements for specific sites. In 1994, he created Brooklyn Wall, a temporary installation in the Museum's lobby.