The tradition of glassmaking in the Czech Republic spans many centuries- from the Middle Ages through the booming Bohemian export industry of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the country's current position as a leading center for avant-garde studio glass. After World War II, artists in the former Czechoslovakia were isolated from trends and technologies developing in the West. For the past fifty years, however, despite the long-unfavorable political climate and the scarcity of materials, Brychtová and Libensky´ have been extremely influential in the international studio-glass movement. In the 1940s Brychtová made pâte de verre vessels, sculptures, and plaques and Libensky´ produced enameled and acid-etched tableware. By the late 1950s the couple had begun to experiment with a larger scale and abstract forms, collaborating on architectural screens and nonfigurative sculptures.