By TIMOTHY EGAN, New York Times
Published: June 1, 2006
SEATTLE, May 31 — As an ever-moving maestro in the world where fine art and commerce converge, Dale Chihuly is perhaps the world's most successful glass artist.
His clients include Bill Gates and Bill Clinton, and his elaborate installations of sea gardens and flower clusters show that mere sand transformed by fire can elevate a casino ceiling to the level of gallery spectacle.
But now Mr. Chihuly is in the midst of a hard-edged legal fight in federal court here over the distinctiveness of his creations and, more fundamentally, who owns artistic expression in the glass art world.