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The Lasting Legacy of William Prindle

Posted on 07/01/2020 at 03:00 PM by Allison Sheridan



Leaving a lasting and impactful legacy is important to many of us. The University Museums’ benefactors over the last 45 years have included those that fund acquisitions, give financially, support internships, and donate their personal collections of art. University Museums is grateful for all of our donors, both near and far, who are so thoughtful to include the arts at Iowa State in their estate planning and as part of their legacies.

One such planned gift of objects took place in mid-2019, just before the re-opening of the Brunnier Art Museum. Our benefactor, William “Will” Alastair Prindle, passed away suddenly at his home in Ames, Iowa on Valentine’s Day 2019. Prindle was an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at Iowa State from 2011 until his death. As a professor of industrial design he was beloved by colleagues in the College of Design and many students. In 2018, Prindle connected through peers with University Museums’ staff to coordinate the gifting of his glass collection as part of an estate plan. We had no idea that just one short year later, University Museums would be receiving his collection as directed through his estate and via his son, Sam Carr Prindle.

The Will Prindle collection is a wonderful addition to University Museums as it includes many objects by glassworks or artists/designers not previously held in the permanent collection. Some of the most masterful designs include the drawing of glassware and subsequent designs executed in glass by Prindle himself. Prindle attended the Rhode Island School of Design where he obtained a BA in Sculpture and a Masters in Industrial Design. Beginning his career at the important Murano, Italy glass firm Venini, Prindle designed functional yet artful objects which he would continue to do throughout his life. Some of his career highlights include working as Senior Designer and Design Manager at Corning, Inc. (1980-1988), Vice President of Design and Development at Forms + Surfaces, and proprietor of William Prindle Design from 1988 to 2019. He would go on from his early days in Venice to live in Santa Barbara, CA and eventually Ames, IA. His obituary states, “Will was not only a skilled draftsman, but he also had a shop where he made his own models and prototypes. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of manufacturing processes and materials, which he applied to his innovative design work. Will designed and brought more than 1,000 products to production.”



IMAGE ABOVE: Plater, 1980 by Venini, Italian. Signed Venini Italia ’80. Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2019.282

IMAGE AT TOP: Platter. Canoa platter, Venini, Italian. Possibly by Paolo Venini. Glass. Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2019.201

The Prindle collection includes: 45 design drawings on paper by Prindle; glass designs by Prindle produced by Steuben (Corning, Inc.) and Libby; glass by designers Anna Ehrner, Paolo Venini, Marvin Lipofsky, George Sakier, Nils Landberg, Fulvio Bianconi, Dominic Labino, Robert Cassetti, and Fritz Dreisback; and glass objects produced by companies Moser, New Martinsville, Fostoria, Correia, Venini, Orrefors, Libby, Steuben and Blenko.

Will Prindle, and his son Sam, have made a lasting impact to the glass collection at University Museums broadening the collection greatly and adding industrial design drawings and prototypes to the scope. Through Prindle’s generosity and planning, University Museums will be able to better make an educational impact with the glass collections and the objects will enhance future exhibitions, programing and research.


IMAGE 1: Vase. Corsica Vase, late 20th century, Manufactured by Moser. Glass, Alexandrite (Neodymium) color. Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2019.200

IMAGE 2: Cracker Jar w/ Lid. Fritz Dreisback for Blenko, 1976. Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.  UM2019.285ab

IMAGE 3: Sculpture, 1986 by Dominic Labino. Clear glass shape with veiling in pink and orange. Signed Labino, 1986. Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2019.281

IMAGE 4: Small Bowl / Nut Dish. Designed by Will Prindle for Steuben. Glass. Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2019.210

IMAGE 5: Set of Glasses. Designed and created by William Prindle for White Crown Corning (Sydney, Australia). Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2019.204abcde

IMAGE 6: Two Candlestick Holders. Designed and created by William Prindle for Steuben. Glass. Gift from the Estate of William Prindle. In the permanent collection, Brunnier Art Museum, University Museums, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. UM2019.199ab

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