Sculpture & Carvings
Dale Chihuly Pelleas and Melisande "Arkel" Limited Super Rare Etchings
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Series: Pelleas Melisande
Size: Size Framed: Currently not framed and can be for an addition $200
Edition Size: 100
in the photos we have a few photos showing the pieces grouped together. This is for one of the etchings and not the series. If interested in the series please let us know. We can custom frame them all together to any size and style. The pieces are shown framed, however they are not framed. Framing is an additional $200 and you are welcome to pick out any frame you see listed with our pieces on ebay.
Dale Chihuly and Claude Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande
The only opera Claude Debussy ever finished, Pelleas and Melisande, is also considered a landmark in 20th-century modern music. The famous composer’s wish to write music for theater came true only after he discovered works of Maurice Maeterlinck, a Symbolist playwright. Debussy was drawn to Maeterlinck's play Pelléas et Mélisande, a timeless tragedy of love and desire. Surrounded by contrary opinions and serious criticism, the opera was finally staged in 1902 at the Opera Comique in Paris, and it subsequently became a program staple for the theater.
A century later, Speight Jenkins who was the Director of Seattle Opera at the time, approached Dale Chihuly, a famous glass artist, about a new, spectacular staging of the Debussy’s opera. The new presentation of Pelleas and Melisande was to be adorned with a new stage design, entrusted to Chihuly. After instantly agreeing to design the set, the artist immediately wondered about the ways and difficulties in front of him. With a prolific history in artistic glassmaking, he envisioned impressionistic surroundings enhanced by transparency and glimmer of a glass-like material.
While the actual monumental set was not made of glass, it was produced to preserve all the crucial qualities of this delicate material, especially the ways glass interacts with light. They were produced after Chihuly’s miniature glass models with the help of Plexiglas and mirrors. The final result gave a stunning feeling of ethereal environment where the universal love story was set.
Stage design for Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande was the first theatrical endeavor for Dale Chihuly. By his own confession, the artist was more inspired by the storyline than by the music itself. The twelve scenes of the opera were enlivened with large sculptural inventions, from tubes and protuberances, curved discs, flower-inspired curvatures, all glowing with nuances red, green and blue. Emphasizing the Symbolism of the Maeterlinck’s libretto, Chihuly used abstract, associative forms, accentuating features of Art Nouveau with contemporary visual interpretations of floral, marine and other natural elements. Giving out an impression of liquid elegance, Dale Chihuly’s opera stage design received positive reviews and provided a platform for further development.
Pelleas + Melisande + Chihuly Etching Set
In concordance with his artistic practice, Dale Chihuly developed the set design for Pelleas and Melisande through a series of preparatory drawings. These drawings later served as an incentive for a limited edition of twelve etchings entitled Pelleas - Melisande - Chihuly. Published on the occasion of Seattle Opera’s premiere production of Claude Debussy’s Pelleas and Melisande in March of 1993, these twelve etchings correspond with the scenes from the musical play.
This rare volume consists of visual works accompanied by selected dialogue from the Maeterlinck's libretto. The volume is designed, printed letterpress and bound by Jim Koss and Judith Johnson in the first edition of 100, of which this book is the Artist’s Proof.
Entitled “Arkël”. Inscribed with libretto text: So, come quite close, just a look… One has / such a craving for beauty alongside of death.
Sketchy character of the “Arkël” piece alludes to a rose-like shape and the garden in which a part of the opera is set. It evokes the artist’s proclivity for abundant floral elements and underlines his clear vision of color. The title refers to one of the main characters of the opera, the grandfather of the two rival brothers, in the moment when he admires Melisande’s beauty.
Signed by Dale Chihuly, the volume comes with a gallery issued Certificate of Authenticity.
Etchings from Pelleas and Melisande series are on offer either full bound or as individual book folios.
Each individual print will come framed, which increases its original price by $200.
Select our Best Offer option and name your price. The first bidder to meet the bottom line price takes this rare print home.