Paolo Venini and his Furnace: A Murano Glass Maven
A leading figure in 20th century artistic glass production, Paolo Venini (1895-1959) is a true pioneer of Murano glass whose work is outstanding for its combination of traditional techniques and modern forms. His company, Venini, and his artistic practiced thrived during his nearly 40 year career thank to his cultured, enlightened and creative entrepreneurship.
In the new exhibition, “Paolo Venini and his Furnace,” curator Marino Barovier pays homage to a man who mastered the art of glassmaking. Featuring over 300 works created by Venini as well as other artistic collaborators, the exhibition will be on view until January 8, 2017 at Le Stanza del Vetro at the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice.
Much of the history of Murano glass in the 20th century is linked to Paolo Venini. Milanese by birth and Muranese by choice, Paolo was a skilled businessman who was sensitive to the contemporary trends in art as well as the demands of the international market. His stellar attention to detail in the search of new mixtures of glass colors and shapes almost left him without eyesight.
Stemming from a refined and innovative interpretation of traditional Murano glass techniques, Paolo Venini created the elegant “Zanfirici” (1950-51) revered for their brilliance and extraordinary quality of craftsmanship, and the “Mosaico Tessuto Multicolore” (1954), characterized by a novel interplay of delicate shades of multicolored glass threads. Pivotal to the Venini brand and a feature of the exhibition are the creations of those who collaborated with Paolo Venini between 1930 and 1950s. Included are icons from the architect Gio Ponti, who created original bottles, table services, and lamps. Other designers and artistic collaborators included: Massimo Vignelli, Tyra Lundgren, Charles Lin Tissot, Tomaso Buzzi, Ken Scott, Riccardo Licata, Tobia Scarpa, and more.
Characterized for their striking simplicity, their purity of form, set with unusual combinations of colors worked into the glass in bold, stripe-like threads, grids, and sometimes the traditional millefiori manner, Paolo Venini has without a doubt left a true legacy of his work and the craftsmanship involved in glassmaking. Some of his pieces are displayed in museums around the world allured for their glass artistry. Today, Venini continues to promote Italian design and craftsmanship, and collaborates with some of the most astonishing artistic minds of our century including the Japanese architect Tadao Ando.