Fort Wayne Museum of Art installs largest indoor sculpture in its history

Local News

The Fort Wayne Museum of Art is getting a new piece of art, and it’s the largest of its kind the museum has ever displayed indoors. 

Martin Blank’s Repose in Amber is one of the largest hot-sculpted landscapes in the world. It will now call Fort Wayne its permanent home. 

“I think it’s a real treat for us as a museum to have this to offer our community,” Charles Shepard, President and CEO of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art said. “I think from the community’s perspective, I think such an important piece makes a statement about the whole community.”

Shepard also called the multi-million dollar work of art the museum’s “new, single-most important piece.” 

The installment is 9.5 feet tall, 15 feet wide, and 50 feet long. It consists of five sections, each with large, colorful pieces of blown glass representing different sections of a woman lying down. 

Artist Martin Blank and his team blew and hand-sculpted each glass element for Repose in Amber – a labor of love that took untold amounts of time and effort. 

“You have these objects that are just bright and colorful right now, but when you see them in liquid state, and you see the team, you have no idea the intensity and the energy that went into creating them just in the hot process,” Blank explained. “Then we had to figure out how to get them up into space, and then we ahd to have them speak something important.”

Below is a video showing the process of creating the work of art. 

It’s been a long road for the piece from its inception to coming to Fort Wayne. This isn’t the first home for Repose in Amber. The work of art was originally commissioned for Chicago’s 120 South Lasalle Building, but when the building sold to a new owner, the piece was sent to the basement. 

When the Fort Wayne Museum of Art had the opportunity to bring it home, its leaders jumped at the opportunity. 

“When I learned that we had a chance to get a very large Martin Blank, I did cartwheels,” Shepard said with a smile on his face. “This is better than anything I could’ve dreamed of.”

Once the deal was done, the museum hired teams of packers and movers to get the large piece ready for transport. Each piece of artwork had to be carefully and individually wrapped and packaged before they could be moved to Fort Wayne.

Shepard said crews even had to remove a classic revolving door from where the piece was being stored in Chicago. That was the only way the larger elements could fit out of the building. 

After it arrived in Fort Wayne earlier this week, a team of artists has been working with Blank to install Repose in Amber in the Karl S. and Ella L. Bolander gallery. 

Blank said the process has been smooth so far. 

“The staff here at the museum has been phenomenal,” Blank said. “We’ve got their preparators here. They have gone over the top to make sure that this piece is going to look the way I had envisioned it. It’s been first class.”

The installation process is expected to be finished this week. Shepard said he hopes it will then remain on display at the museum forever. 

To see more work from Martin Blank and to learn more about his history, visit his website here.

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