Richard V. Piacentini  presents a Fräbel Glass Bowl to President and Mrs. ObamaFrabel Glass treeFrabel Glass Frogs

President Obama and World Dignitaries Presented with Glass Art of Frabel at Pittsburgh Summit

Oct 2009

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Summit leaders took home their own pieces of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens last week at the Pittsburgh Summit. Prior to the reception at Phipps, Richard V. Piacentini, Executive Director of Phipps, privately presented the President and the First Lady with three glass art pieces from the current exhibition, Life in the Gardens. Frabel at Phipps. The Obama’s were given the sculpture, Wavy Bowl, as well as two tropical frog glass sculptures for the Obama’s children, Sasha and Malia, all made by internationally renowned glass artist Hans Godo Frabel.

As a gift to Pittsburgh Summit dignitaries, President Obama commissioned the Frabel Studio to produce 34 “Glass Tree” sculptures also by glass artist Hans Godo Frabel. The exquisite glass tree sculptures and an artist signed copy of Life in the Gardens. Frabel at Phipps, a stunning full-color exhibition book, were presented to world leaders at the Pittsburgh Summit on September 24, 2009. The artist’s proof of “Glass Tree” is on display in the Shop at Phipps.

Richard V. Piacentini of Phipps remarked, “We were proud to welcome the President, First Lady and Pittsburgh Summit leaders to Phipps and have them take home gifts that will serve as a truly unique reminder of their visit to Phipps and Pittsburgh.”

The Obama’s gift, Frabel’s Wavy Bowl sculpture, is made of strings of borosilicate glass that connect to create a bowl-like structure; the connections and thin pieces of glass create a stunning and incredible play with sunlight. The colorful glass frogs are from Frabel’s tropical frog series, all endangered or extinct species from South and Central America. The dignitaries’ Glass Tree sculptures were intended to symbolize unity and movement toward a common goal.

The current exhibition, Life in the Gardens. Frabel at Phipps will remain at the Conservatory through January 2010; Frabel glass sculptures and the book, Life in the Gardens. Frabel at Phipps are available for purchase by the public in The Shop at Phipps in the Welcome Center.