Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Venice: Le Stanze del Vetro – Tomaso Buzzi at Venini

 Photograph courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro

Venice: Le Stanze del Vetro – Tomaso Buzzi at Venini. At the Stanze del Vetro on the magical Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, overlooking the most famous Piazza in the world the beautiful exhibition, Tomaso Buzzi at Venini, until January 11, an exhibition celebrating the Italian taste of the 1930s in the glass works by the well-known architect from Milan. Curated by Marino Barovier, it retraces this brief but fruitful collaboration, documented through the selected works and original drawings preserved in the Venini glassworks archive, as well as, a previously un-displayed collection of drawings preserved at Scarzuola, Buzzi’s 18th century convent home near Terni.
Above. Glass bowl with bird with high-truncated cone shaped foot, 1932-33.

Portrait of Tomaso Buzzi

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini. When Buzzi arrived at the Venini company in Murano, in 1932, he brought with him a remarkable cultural baggage and a thorough knowledge of ancient art, in particular of the Etruscan period, where he looked for inspiration with the aim of creating new and original artifacts.
Above. The Cristallo e Argento, 1932, series was presented at the 18th Venice Biennale in 1932 along with the Turchese e Nero and the Cristallo Verde e Oro series as a selection of Venini’s latest production. Ugo Nebbia called the Cristallo e Argento series “crystal clear and refined”.

Curator Marino Barovier photographed beside some of the floor lamps, 1933-1938. The floor light on the right was designed as part of the furniture of Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan, Buzzi started to design for the villa in 1938.

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini Piede Composto 1932 ca.  Cased glass bowl. The series of cased glass vases and bowls came with a very particular composite foot by the “small Chinese bases” which were used as foundations for both glass and ceramics. The sketches are for the Lattimo and Oro, 1932 series which feature a distinctive ribbing decoration obtained by using a deep mold.  The architect was fascinated by the color play created by cased glass, and devoted a lot of passion and research to this particular technique, until he came up with a new system of multiple layers with gold leaf decoration.

 The interior of the Venini furnace period photograph from the Archivio Storico Luce.


Tomaso Buzzi at Venini – Incamiciati 1932-33. Through experimentation with a new glass material, the “vetro incamiciato”, was achieved with several layers of color and gold leaf.  This technique radically changed the appearance of the glass produced at Venini, contributing to the drive for innovation of the Murano-based glassware company, and re-asserting its vocation for producing elegant and refined glass.
Above. Coppa delle Mani (Bowl of the Hands) in laguna glass consisting of different colored layers with applied gold leaf.  The bowl is supported by two hands with tapering fingers and joint wrists in gold-shaded ivory glass.  Bracelets and rings in gold-shaped laguna glass.  The bowl was exhibited at the 5th Milan Triennale in 1933 at the very center of the Venini showcase.  One example was bought by Benito Mussolini

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini – Incamiciati 1932-33. Small jugs consisting of different colored layers with applied gold leaf. The collar has a spiked dog collar detail.

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini – Incamiciati 1932. Fish shaped vases in glass consisting of different colored layers of applied gold leaf.  The vases features a truncated cone shaped foot and projecting mouth in the shape of an inverted truncated cone.  The items belong to the first Laguna series, which were illustrated in the Domus magazine issue of December 1932. Thanks to the analysis and research of drawings preserved in the Venini archives, it appears that Buzzi studied fourteen techniques for the production of multi-layered vetri incamiciati, that can be compared to the glaze techniques in painting.  The architect used several layers of color to obtain different shades of pink, green, blue-grey, and red-pink, that lead to the Laguna, Alga, Alba (dawn) and Tramonto (sunset) glass series.

 Photograph courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini – Incamiciati 1932-33. Double mouth vase in grey-violet cased glass consisting of different colored layers with applied gold leaf.


Pentagram Stiftung’s David Landau. Tomaso Buzzi at Venini is the third exhibition dedicated to the history of the Venini glassware company organized by Le Stanze del Vetro, a long-term cultural initiative launched by Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung, devoted to the study and the promotion of the art of glassmaking in the 20th and 21st centuries. 

Le Stanze del Vetro – Incamiciati 1932-1933

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini – Cristallo e Rilievi 1933.  Vase in thick uncolored glass. "Leaf” shaped relief decorations in sapphire glass and cylindrical base covered by uneven tesserae in sapphire glass. 

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini – Filigrana1933.  Chicken and Cockerel in blue filigrana with reticello (net-like) pattern and blue glass finishing. The 'filigrana a reticello' was used to make vases, fruit and animals which had originally been designed by Tomaso Buzzi for decorative arts applications other than glass. The items shown at the 5th Triennale in Milan (1933) were most probably exhibited in black filigrana glass variation.

 Photograph courtesy Le Stanze del Vetro

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini – Nero e Filigrana 1933 ca. Vase in black glass with wavy ‘collar’ in reticello (net-like) pattern with lattimo filigrana glass.  The vase features truncated cone-shaped foot depressed globular body and funnel-shaped neck.

Tomaso Buzzi at Venini. Between 1934 and 1938, Buzzi developed designs for the interiors of the mansions of one of the most ancient families of Milan, the banker and textile entrepreneur Nico Castellini.   In 1934 for dinning-room of the mansion located on Lake Maggiore, in Cerro di Laveno, near Varese, Buzzi drew inspiration from the surrounding lake environment.  Among these items was a pendant lamp with two fishes.  Venini received the commission in September 1934 for two fishes (similar in shape to lake fishes), which were made in uncolored bubble glass with jade green glass finishing.  A hinged metal frame allows the light source to be positioned inside the lamp. 


 Director of the Institute of Art History Glass Study Center, Luca Massimo Barbero.


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