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Archive Sybren Valkema

Conservation and digitization

At the end of 2012, the Advisory Committee of Bureau Metamorfoze honoured the RKD's request to conserve and digitize the extensive archive of Sybren Valkema (1916-1996). Constituting the core of the RKD's collection of glass archives, it is of national and international importance. In terms of content and scope, the archive is the most representative, and illustrative, of the history of Dutch glass art.

Valkema was a teacher of aesthetic design at the Leerdam Glass School upon the invitation of Andries Copier, and affiliated with the Institute of Applied Art (later the Gerrit Rietveld Academy), where he served as an instructor and later adjunct-director. Here, in 1965, he set up the first studio glass kiln in the Netherlands and founded a glass atelier. This was the first glass department with hot glass (the so-called Glass Workgroup) in European art academy education. Through his involvement with glass education and glass art in general, Valkema laid the foundation for the further development of glass art in the Netherlands and elsewhere. The combination of education and commerce, such as for the Glasfabriek Leerdam, and his attention to the technical development of glass art and the profession of glass design (for which he assembled and systematically kept essential documentation), makes the Sybren Valkema Archive a unique source of knowledge and information on the development of glass as an expressive visual material in the previous century. For the in-depth disclosure of the archive, the RKD received support from The Corning Museum of Glass (New York State, USA), the world's leading institution in the area of glass, and administrator of the world's largest glass collection and some representative archives regarding glassmaking. The museum also advised in the selection of the Sybren Valkema Archive as a core archive on glassmaking and glass techniques.

Photography: Anna Carlgren

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