William Warmus


Jerusalem 1999

In front of the wall of ice constructed by Dale Chihuly

E-mail: www at warmus dot com

This resume is linked to web sites about some projects and essays. 



2007 Overview

William Warmus explores the relationships between art, nature, and technology. He is the author of 12 books and over 100 essays, including biographies of Dale Chihuly, Louis C. Tiffany and René Lalique. Native Species was published in 2006.

Warmus studied with the art critic Harold Rosenberg while at the University of Chicago. In 1978 he became curator at The Corning Museum of Glass where he curated the landmark exhibition New Glass, the first studio glass exhibition to be shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Warmus became an independent curator in 1984, was the editor of Glass magazine, and is consulting curator to the National Liberty Museum. The Wall Street Journal described the exhibition Fire and Form that he curated for the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach in 2003 as "substantial and delightful." He is past Executive Secretary of the Glass Art Society, a member of the Urban Glass Board of advisors, and a contributing editor for Glass magazine.

In 2005 Warmus received the AACG Honors award from The Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass “in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contribution to knowledge and understanding of contemporary glass art.”

William Warmus Inc. joined Appraisal Services Associates of New York City in 2006 as a partner and Senior Appraiser. He is an expert witness in the Federal Court (Manhattan) case Bellis v. Tokio Marine, which includes several of Louis C. Tiffany’s key masterworks. His appraisal practice focuses on studio glass, Tiffany, issues relating to chain of custody, forensic appraisals and risk management for cultural institutions.

As advisor to the estate of the art critic Clement Greenberg, Warmus engineered the acquisition of Greenberg's collection of over 150 abstract expressionist artworks by the Portland Art Museum in Oregon, including works by Jackson Pollock, Anthony Caro, and Helen Frankenthaler.

In 1996 Warmus began to concentrate his research on nature as a work of art. His photograph of a highly unusual Octopus appeared on the cover of Ocean Realm magazine in 2001, in 2004 he wrote the screenplay for the movie Sensational Seas, and in 2005 he edited Sea Salt (with Ned DeLoach), the memoirs of pioneering ocean explorer Stan Waterman.

Warmus lives near Ithaca, New York.

"Warmus’ credentials are bulletproof—he was the curator of the Corning Museum of Glass, was the editor of Glass magazine, and has written books on the biggest names in glass art, from Rene Lalique to Dale Chihuly. Although his expertise extends far beyond the realm of glass art into the broader study of art, there is little that happens in the medium that he cannot speak to in an eloquent and informed way."

Chris Peterson, reviewing "Fire and Form" in Glass Craftsman at:


Biographical details

Education and curatorial

Warmus studied art history and philosophy at The University of Chicago with Harold Rosenberg, John Rewald, and Paul Ricoeur. His experience with glass as a medium for sculpture began in 1977 at The Corning Museum of Glass, where as curator he was responsible for the exhibitions New Glass, Tiffany’s Tiffany, and Emile Galle: Dreams Into Glass. Traveling extensively with the museum’s director, Thomas Buechner, he acquired works worldwide, increasing the museum’s modern collections by about 1200 artworks. After a trip inside the iron curtain,  he wrote (with Buechner)  Czechoslovakian Diary: 1980, introducing the works of Czech artists to a wide American audience.

Selected Books

Tom Patti: Illuminating the Invisible (2004), Fire and Form (2003), Frantisek Vizner (2001), René Lalique (2003), Dale Chihuly (2000) and Louis Comfort Tiffany (2001), the last three titles published by Abrams under the Essential imprint. Warmus co-authored Chihuly Over Venice (with Dana Self) and Dan Dailey: Simple Complexities (with Henry Geldzahler). In 1984 he wrote Emile Gallé: Dreams Into Glass. Other books include The Venetians: Modern Glass (1989), and The Value of Glass.

Exploration and photography








Warmus working with installation of Rahn sea stars underwater off  Wakaya Island, Fiji, South Pacific, 1998. Photo: Cat Holloway

In 1996, Warmus became interested in the relationships between the methodology of the art historian and the field of natural history. Around that time, a variation of installation art attracted his attention, which he described as Exploration Art. Chihuly Over Venice is an example. In 1997, he learned to scuba dive in order to accompany artist Catherine Rahn on two expeditions to Fiji, where the artist conducted a series of underwater installations of her work, and Warmus directed an underwater video about the project, titled Deep Glass.

More recently (2003), moving beyond exploration art, Warmus has focused on the emerging inventionist aspect of restoration ecology and the role of aesthetics in redefining nature.

In addition to dive expeditions in Hawaii in 1999 and 2000 and more recently to Fiji (2002) and to Tonga (2005), he delivered The Ocean Seminars at Alfred University in the fall of 2001, exploring the connections between natural history and art.

Image below: Ocean Realm: Summer 2001 cover photograph by William Warmus       


In June and October 1999 he traveled to Israel with Chihuly as internet correspondent, writing daily Flashes from Jerusalem for the Chihuly in the Light of Jerusalem project, and authored the Commentary for the book about that installation, as well as a recent cover feature for Artfocus magazine about the Chihuly Jerusalem Wall of  Ice. In April, 2000 he participated in the St. Anthony Dive, an installation of Catherine Rahn’s work  on a sunken trawler at a depth of 65 feet two miles off the coast of Maui in the Hawaiian Islands, which will be the subject of a video he is currently editing.



Visit Appraisals on this site for more details

Appraisal practice specializing in: Studio glass, Louis C. Tiffany, Emile Gallé. Insurance, charitable and forensic appraisals. Rates and terms e-mailed upon request.

Publisher and Editor, The Value of Glass, an appraisal  newsletter (until 1996). World Wide Web site since March, 1996.

The Value of Glass received three stars from reviewers at Magellan, a Web search service, in 1996: This is ancient history in internet time. The citation read:

" Investigating the links between aesthetics and market value for studio glass, this is an all-in-one Web site for lovers of glass art. Visitors will find many essays and newsbriefs on the latest auctions and sales of everything from Tiffany glass to contemporary works by new artists. Many photographs of glass works, links to related sites, and information on subscribing to a magazine about art glass make this a fine resource."



Editor of Glass magazine (86-89). Guest curator of Contemporary American and European Glass From the Saxe Collection, Oakland Museum of Art (1986). Curatorial consultant to collectors.


Curator, Twentieth Century Glass, The Corning Museum of Glass. Responsible for maintaining the museum's standards in scholarship, publications, collecting and exhibitions. Organized and juried the first five issues of The New Glass Review. Increased the modern collections by 1200 objects, including major works by Chihuly, Wilmarth, Patti, Brychtova and Libensky, Tiffany and Galle.


Registrar, Forum Gallery, New York City. Responsible for cataloging and safety of the gallery’s inventory of American artworks.



The University of Chicago: B.A. in Art History, 1975. Graduate study, General Studies in the Humanities and Philosophy, 1975-1976.


William Warmus by Suzanne Slesin in Stylemakers, Sunday New York Times, October 29, 1989.

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For more details, visit  Books on this site

Native Species. Portland: Belzar Springs Press, 2006

Tom Patti: Illuminating the Invisible. Tacoma: Museum of Glass, 2004.

Fire and Form: The Art of Contemporary Glass. Norton: January 2003

The Essential Rene Lalique. New York: Abrams, 2003

Frantisek Vizner. New York: In association with Barry Friedman, Ltd., 2001

The Essential Louis Comfort Tiffany. New York: Abrams, 2001

The Essential Dale Chihuly. New York: Abrams, 2000

Chihuly Over Venice. Seattle: Portland Press, 1996. With Dana Self

The Value of Glass. New York: Archives of Studio Glass, 1995.

The Venetians: Modern Glass 1919-1990. New York: Karasik Gallery, 1989.

Dan Dailey: Simple Complexities in Drawings and Glass, 1972-1987. University of Washington Press, 1987. With Henry Geldzahler.

Emile Galle: Dreams into Glass. Corning, New York: The Corning Museum of Glass, 1984.

Czechoslovakian Diary: 1980. Corning, New York: The Corning Museum of Glass, 1981. With Thomas Buechner.



Curated New Glass: A Worldwide Survey (1979) Described as providing "the greatest stimulus for the acquisition of studio glass by public and private patrons....Its tour demonstrated glass's new prestige....the exhibition was shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York...and in Japan (the first time American studio glass was shown there)..." (Contemporary Crafts and the Saxe Collection. The Toledo Museum of Art: 1993, p. 28).

Tiffany's Tiffany (1980) The opening exhibition at the new Corning Museum of Glass. Focused on Tiffany's most significant windows and lamps.

Emile Gallé: Dreams into Glass (1984), also at The Corning Museum of Glass. Reviewed by John Ashbery for Newsweek: "Almost all the works on display are masterpieces" making a visit "obligatory for anyone interested in the delirious excesses of fin-de-siecle France."

Guest curator, Contemporary American and European Glass from the Saxe Collection, Oakland Museum of Art (1986). "Arousing considerable response, it catapulted into the public eye for the first time both contemporary glass and the Saxes as collectors...it was an inspiration for emerging craft collectors...." (Contemporary Crafts and the Saxe Collection. The Toledo Museum of Art: 1993, p. 184).

The Venetians, curated for Muriel Karasik Gallery, New York City (1989-1990). "The most important exhibition of Italian glass ever organized in the United States." (Il Giornale Dell'Arte)

Fire and Form: The Art of Contemporary Glass, curated for the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, Florida (2003).The Wall Street Journal described the exhibition as "substantial and delightful."

Also Curator of Vessels: Use to Symbol—(1990-91) at The American Craft Museum and Glass as Art, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Glass Art Society, at Blue Spiral Gallery (1995). Curated Dale Chihuly: Sea Forms and Pilchuck Stumps (1992) and The Glass Jewel (with Shari Sandler in 1993).



The History of Glass, an ongoing course surveying the artistic and technical traditions of glassmaking from ancient Egypt through Tiffany and Galle to the present, was first taught at The Pilchuck School in 1985, repeated 1986 and 1987, at Heller Gallery in New York City (1987), Rochester Institute of Technology (1987), Tyler School of Art (1988), and Habatat Gallery, Michigan (1988). Sections were presented as part of Sotheby's American Arts Course in New York City in 1989 and at the Smithsonian Institution in 1999.

Masterpieces, an expanded version of the course that investigated how antique objects were made, was taught at Pilchuck with Dale Chihuly, Richard Marquis and Lino Tagliapietra in 1991. The latest installment of the Masterpieces course was taught at The Norton Museum of Art, in conjunction with the Corning Museum of Glass hot glass road show, in February 2003.

The Ocean Seminars is an ongoing series of lectures about the history of our exploration of the ocean realm and the ways in which this knowledge might be used by artists and architects. The first lectures in the series were delivered at Alfred University in the autumn of 2001.


Lecturing experience and panel moderator from 1978 on at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Smithsonian, Sotheby's, The High Museum of Art, The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, SOFA Chicago (1996 and 2001),  The Smithsonian Institution (1979 and 1999),The Glass Art Society, etc. Delivered the first Rakow Award Lecture for Excellence in the Art of Glass at The Corning Museum of Glass in 1984, honoring the work of Brychtova and Libensky.

Presented The Ocean Seminars at Alfred University, autumn 2001. 2002 lectures include Habatat Gallery International Exposition and the Carnegie Museum of Art. 2003 lectures include the History of Glass, a multi-part series delivered in February at the Norton Museum of Art, and lectures about Dale Chihuly in Louisville (in April) and at the San Antonio Museum of Art (in July) as well as a lecture at Cornell University (in June) about the Blaschka Marine Invertebrates.


(some essays are linked to their web versions)

The New Bronze? Microsoft's Studio Glass Collection. Essay for catalog accompanying the January 2003 Microsoft collecting conference.

Fakes in Glass magazine, Autumn 2001.

Blaschka  Glass Marine Invertebrates in Ocean Realm magazine, summer 2001.

More than Art: The Blaschka Marine Invertebrates in Glass magazine, summer 2001.

Steve Tobin: The Event Itself Is The Only Truth in Sculpture magazine, March 2001 (Vol.20, No.2)

Catherine Rahn: Deep Glass in Glass Art magazine, January 1999 (Cover story).

Dale Chihuly: The Moment of Beauty in Tribute to the Arts. New York: The Friends of Bezalel, 1998.

Lino Tagliapietra, exhibition brochure published by Steuben Glass, 1998.

Harvey Littleton: Glass Master in Glass, Fall 1998 (Cover story)

Castings: Hank Murta Adams in Glass, Spring 1997.

The Stations of the Cross in Robert Kehlmann: Painting With Glass. Moraga: Hearst Gallery of Art, 1996.

Everyone will be Illuminated for 15 Minutes: Tschida Stories in Glass, Spring 1996 (Cover story)

Lino Tagliapietra Book review, in Glass , Winter 1995.

The End? In Glass, Autumn, 1995.Column in American Style Magazine, 1995.

The Completion of Studio Glass in Design Visions, Art Gallery of Western Australia, 1992.

Frantisek Vizner  in Glass: New Work, No. 33, Spring 1988. 

Nature Transformed: The Legacy of Studio Glass in Glass: New Work, No. 28, Winter 1987.

The Art of Stanislav Libensky and Jaroslava Brychtova in Neues Glas, April/June 1985.


Selection committee member, Golden Foundation artist awards (2001)

Chair, Glass Section, Longhouse project for the classification of craft media (1999)

Writer for the Chihuly Over Venice project. Venice, Italy September, 1996.

Participant, Centenary Project, American Craft Museum, NYC

1992 and 1985: Program Chairman, The Pilchuck Seminar and Conference.

1988-9: Originated a fundraising auction at Christie’s in New York City to support the New York Experimental Glass Workshop. Edited catalog for the auction.

1980-1984: Executive Secretary, The Glass Art Society. Responsible for the program for conferences in Seattle, New York City and Tucson. Site coordinator for Corning conference.

1981: Visiting artist, The Pilchuck School






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