In the world of glass art, the name Stanislav Libenský (1921-2002) is immortally linked with that of his wife and artistic collaborator, Jaraslava Brychtová (1924-). This collaboration began in the mid-1950s with a glass and concrete wall for the Brussels EXPO ’58. Based on the cave paintings of animals at Lascaux and Altimira, the installation won a grand prize. Zoomorphic Stones, as the work came to be known, employed internal modeling of shapes cast in glass. The technique became the basis of most of Libenský and Brychtová’s future work.
Born in Sezemice, Czechoslovakia, Stanislav Libenský began his study of glass in 1937 at the Specialized School of Glassmaking in Nový Bor, a region encompassing the Czech-German border called the Sudetenland. When the German army occupied the Sudetenland in 1938, Libenský moved first to the school at Zelezný Brod and later to the Prague Academy of Applied Arts, from which he graduated in 1944.
In the middle of Libenský’s career he was appointed a professor in the glass department at the Prague Academy in 1963 after the passing of the influential Josef Kaplický. Libenský was an excellent teacher who respected the tradition of glass in Czechoslovakia while furthering his own ideas about the modern direction of glass art. His career at the school lasted nearly one-quarter of a century. During that time, despite the opposition of the Communist government that had taken hold of the country in the late 1940s, Libenský was able not only to influence two generations of glass artists through his teaching but also, through international lecturing and exhibition of his and Jaraslava Brychtová’s works, build world-wide interest in modern Czech glass art.