Sunday, May 09, 2021

Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore – Le Stanze del Vetro – The Glass Ark. Animals in the Pierre Rosenberg Collection


"The fascination of a collection lies just as much in what it reveals as in what it conceals of the secret urge that led to its creation."

Italo Calvino

Collection of Sand - 1974 


Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore - Le Stanze del Vetro
The Glass Ark. Animals in the Pierre Rosenberg Collection


At Le Stanze del Vetro - until August 1 - the exhibition The Glass Ark. Animals in the Pierre Rosenberg Collection is curated by Giordana Naccari and Cristina Beltrami and retraces - in an interesting and fascinating way - the history of 20th-century Murano glass from an unusual angle: the glass animal. Over 750 works of art - representing among others, elephants, hippos, cats, giraffes, bears, parrots, fish, turtles, foxes and tiny, lamp-worked life-sized insects belonging to the personal collection which Pierre Rosenberg, art historian and former director and president of the Louvre in Paris which he has put together over the past thirty years.  


Some of the most famous series are on show, with pieces by Napoleone Martinuzzi, birds by Tyra Lundgren and Toni Zuccheri for Venini. Alongside the Zebrati series by Barovier & Toso, the aquariums by Alfredo Barbini, the well-known examples of Seguso Vetri d'Arte, as well as, lesser-known but equally interesting glassworks from the technical point of view with regard to the formal experimentation of the 20th-Century Murano glass production.  This child friendly exhibition also showcases works by living artists such as Cristiano Bianchin, Isabelle Poilprez, Maria Grazia Rosin and Giorgio Vigna that demonstrate the inexhaustible source of inspiration that the glass animal has to offer.

The Savannah and Desert Room



"I was at the Al Covo restaurant, when I noticed a small glass display case and so, at the end of lunch, I asked the owner about the objects in it. My attention was particularly taken by a fish, which they told me was made by Licio Zanetti and, seeing my enthusiasm, the owners, very generously made me a present of it."

Pierre Rosenberg


 Licio Zanetti - Fish - Vetreria Artistica Zanetti - 1970s-1980s

"Knowing that my mother-in-law loved Dachshunds, I bought it, even though it was rather expensive, but ended up hanging onto the piece. These are the two glass animals that started my collection, in a rather random manner, linked to chance occasions in my life, as is often the case."

Pierre Rosenberg


 Dachshund - ASV - Barovier Seguso Ferro - 1937c 


photograph courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro

"I may have chosen animals because they were less fashionable than vases and also because they are more fun as well as revealing an inventiveness and host of unique inspirations that are well represented by the different furnaces in Murano. I'm fascinated by the way that the artists from Murano - and my use of the word "artist" here is deliberate - recreate these subjects, understanding them, going beyond mere representation, giving them a distinctive pose or borrowed gesture. I believe this reveals incredible observation skills, like those of great artists."

 The "Instinctive Collector" 
Pierre Rosenberg at home in Paris



"Cats are undoubtedly difficult to portray in glass as much as in painting."

The Pets Room
Franck Ehrler - Cat - Zaccaria - Vetreria Anfora - Murano - 1999



"I found in someone's home, a Barovier & Toso dog, which I knew would appeal to Pierre;  I was so pleased with my purchase that I put it in the display case...In no time at all, I received several offers for it from other clients so I ended up removing it because I wanted it to become part of Pierre's collection."

Giordana Naccari
creator and co-curator of the exhibition 

The Pets Room
Barovier & Toso - Fox Terrier
- 1947
on the bridge


Flavio Poli - Poodle - Seguso Vetri d'Arte - 1956 -1954
Seguso Vetri d'Arte
- Drawing for Poodle model  



"Flavio Poli's Fox, one of my favorite pieces, is evoked in the single pose of an animal curled up to rest: just a few details and a single piece joining head and tail, almost tempting you to caress it.  I believe that my awareness of this particular aspect of movement frozen in glass is something I share with Rosenberg, a point of view that has brought us together."
Giordana Naccari

Flavio Poli - Fox - ASV - Barovier Seguso Ferro - 1935 

photograph by Enrico Fiorese - courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro

"Dino Marten's Eel is a splendid piece for me, because it is sinuous and in a certain sense holds the fluidity of the glass.. It has a sweet and very expressive nose.  Martens has been able to create glass with pictorial sensitivity."
Cristina Beltrami
Luciano Gaspari - Fish - Salviati & C. - 1970s-1980s
Dino Martens - Eel -Vetreria Aureliano Toso - 1960s-1970s
Alfredo Barbini - Aquarium with Shrimps - 1960s 

photograph by Enrico Fiorese - courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro
The exhibition installation is designed by Denise Carnini and Francesca Pedrotti, two designers who have engaged in setting up a glass zoo tailor made for young visitors.

The Jungle Room
Ercole Barovier - Monkey - Vetreria Artistica Barovier & C. - 1928-1930

"Animals have always been considered easy to give as gifts or take home as a souvenir after the classic honeymoon in Venice; in fact, we find glass animals in the most far-flung corners of the world, brought back by friends and relations after a visit to Murano."
 The Farm Room
Cockerel - Pauly & C. - 1970s 

The Farm Room
Napoleone Martinuzzi - Horses - 1928-1933
photograph by Enrico Fiorese - courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro
The Woods Room
Toni Zuccheri - A Little Owl - Venini & C. - 1980s
Vetreria Formia or Badioli - Little Owl - 1980s
Vetreria Formia - Little Owl - 1980s
Flavio Poli - Fox - Barovier Seguso Ferro - 1934c.
Napoleone Barovier - ASV - Barovier Seguso Ferro - 1930s

photograph by Enrico Fiorese - courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro
Toni Zuccheri - Anteater - Barovier & Toso - 1983


photograph by Enrico Fiorese - courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro
 "Whales are another of my favorite animals and I have been fond of them long before they became "fashionable".  I was fortunate in acquiring quite a large number because they have become rather rare."
Pierre Rosenberg 
The Seas and The Poles Room 
Licio Zanetti - Whale - Zanetti Veteria Artistica - 1980s

Ercole Barovier - Fish - Vetreria Artistica Barovier & C. - 1929

"Maria Grazia Rosin's biomorphic sculptures are always alien, with a pronounced dreamlike quality, that engenders highly evocative "intra-extraterrestrial" universes or sensorial machines."
Maria Grazia Rosin - b.1958 - Octupus - Compagnia Vetraria Muranese - Segio Tiozzo - 2007
"Marcantonio Brandolini d'Adda's Fish is the only blown glass piece in the Rosenberg Collection to be made with cotisse, waste from glassworking, which frequently features in his works."
Marcantonio Brandolini d'Adda - b. 1991 - Fish - Dona glassworks
Paolo Rossetto mechanicals - 2020
The Pond Room

"Giorgio Vigna was inspired by an idea of solid glass with colour layers made using the sommerso technique when he designed the blue duck in 2007."
Giorgio Vigna - b. 1955 - Duck - Ittala - 2007 
"Bruno Amadi introduced me to the world of lampworking.  I fell in love with his creations and with his personality, and have lost none of my enthusiasm over the years. I have continued to collect his tiny creations, which he makes with the great skill of an artisan.  An artisan with the approach of an artist, in the sense that the doubts and uncertainties that he experiences during his work are typical of the artistic temperament.  It is the same sensibility that allows him, on the one hand, to carefully create flowers, vegetables, and insects - even highly realistic ants and spiders - and, on the other, to cross the boundaries of technical virtuosity to capture the "intelligence of the object".
Pierre Rosenberg 
Bruno Amadi - b. 1946 - Butterflies - 1980s 
"On Cristiano Bianchin's vase the slim green snake is made using the incamiciatura technique, it clings to a red bottle with a neck that is sunk slightly into the body, giving it the appearance of stylised apple. At this point the sculpture acquires a symbolic value: the vase becomes the biblical apple of sin featuring its slender serpertine tempter."
Cristiano Bianchin - b. 1963 - Snake on Vase L'Autunnale - Vetreria Lucio De Maio - Vittorio Ferro - 1995

The exhibition also has an animated video - The Enchanted Menagerie - by Giulia Savorani - visual artist and director who, starting from drawings on glass, has created a fairy tale cartoon, based on an idea by Giordana Naccari for this occasion.

Giulia Savorani - The Enchanted Menagerie - Video 


The 3D Virtual Tour

The 3D virtual tour is also available to allow the public to visit the exhibition free of charge from home.  




The Catalogue

The Glass Ark. Animals in the Pierre Rosenberg Collection exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by Skira, which opens with an interview revealing the spirit of the collector, together with essays by the curators, Giordana Naccari and Cristina Beltrami, by Jean-Luc Olivie, curator of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and by glass historian Rosa Barovier Mentasti. It also includes cataloguing of all the pieces in the exhibition often accompanied by period drawings, photographs and prints.

Note: Some of the text and all of the quotes, for this blog, were taken from the catalogue, without which this blog would not have been made possible. A big THANK YOU goes to Giordana Naccari and Cristina Beltrami  for your precious  essays.





































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