Venini Glass

Venini Glass from the
Venini glassGlass Encyclopedia

Venini glass vase

above: vaso scozzese
by Fulvio Bianconi
for Paolo Venini c. 1957

below: Venini label
from a Tapio Wirkkala
piece, 1970s.

Venini glass label

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Venini glass

Venini Art Glass: A short explanation

Paolo Venini is one of the best-known names associated with Venetian glass today. And yet he was neither a glass-worker by training nor a Venetian. He was a lawyer from Milan, and came to Venice in 1921 at the age of 26. He formed a partnership with Giacomo Cappellin, a Venetian antiques dealer, which lasted for four years. Together they started a glassworks, Cappellin Venini & C. and brought in Vittorio Zecchin as art director.

Zecchin was a painter who had worked as a free-lance designer for such Venetian companies as Artisti Barovier. Together, Venini, Cappellin, and Zecchin started a revolution in Venetian glass design. Until then Venice had been immune to outside design influences. Both the arts and crafts movement and the art nouveau era had passed by without any perceptible change in the designs emanating from the island of Murano in Venice. Cappellin-Venini produced simple shapes in clear or pale transparent colors, in sharp contrast to the over-decorated tourist-trade output which was the signature of much Murano glass at the time.

After four years of major successes at international exhibitions, the partnership split and Paolo Venini formed his own company, Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Venini & C. There is a beautiful quote from Dan Klein's introduction to the book "Venini Glassware" by Franco Deboni which epitomises the situation in Venice in the 1920s.

The main problem that faced Paolo Venini working on his own account in Venice, was the status of the Venetian crafsman, who wanted star billing for what he considered a virtuoso performance on the blowpipe. But Venetian glass-blowing had degenerated into little more than a circus act, and the "stars" did not want to be told how to perform.

Venini changed that, and from the 1920s to 1959 when he died, his company produced a series of beautiful pieces designed by great artists. Below is an example of a vaso pezzame by Fulvio Bianconi for Venini, designed in 1951.

Venini glass vase

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Amongst the great artist-designers who created glass for Venini were Napoleone Martinuzzi, Tommaso Buzzi, Tyra Lundgren, Carlo Scarpa, Tapio Wirkkala, Salvador Dali, Fulvio Bianconi, Paolo Venini himself, and Thomas Stearns from the USA.

The company is still operating today, but it passed out of the Venini family control in 1986.

References and Sources:

Here are some books that include Venini Glass. Click on the book cover or title to read more about that book.

Venini glass book Martinuzzi at venini glass 2014 Fulvio Bianconi at Venini Tomaso Buzzi at Venini Carlo Scarpa at Venini Venini Glass 2007 Venini glass book Venini glass book Murano Island Glass Murano glass Themes Murano glass book Murano history Italian glass book Islamic Influence Venetian glass book Beyond Venice Venetian glass book Italian glass Italian glass book

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