When people talk about Italian art glass, they are usually referring to the vases, paperweights, goblets, and decorative objects produced in the city of Venice and the adjacent island of Murano. Indeed, Murano is the heart of Italian glassmaking, the place where, in the late 13th century, glassmakers were banished lest their furnaces catch the rest of Venice on fire.

Even though the middle of the 19th century was a time of much innovation for Venetian and Murano artisans, the periods of interest to most collectors of antique and vintage Italian art glass are the years between the two world wars and the post-war decades of the 1950s and 1960s.

Ercole Barovier was perhaps the most influential figure of the 1920s and 1930s. His family’s glassmaking roots went all the way back to the Renaissance, and his family’s first company, Artisti Barovier, was established in 1878. In 1920, the firm changed its name to Vetreria Artistica Barovier & Co., which lasted until its merger with Ferro Toso in 1936.

Before Ercole Barovier took over the firm’s designs, his family’s company hired some of the best glass masters in Murano, including future Venini legend Vittorio Zecchini. For Barovier, Zecchini created murrine mosaic paintings on the sides of vases. Other examples combine several techniques—for example, a murrine goblet depicting flowers against a blue-sky background might have a very traditional, decorative Venetian knob between the goblet’s bowl and foot.

For its part, Ferro Toso was known in the 1920s and early 1930s for vases that combined classic Venetian forms with bold coloration. Toso’s Primavera series from this period is particularly prized, as are the pieces that were made using a new technique developed by Toso for coloring hot glass.

The post-war years were unquestionably Murano’s most glorious period. In the 1940s, Barovier & Toso produced thick, clear pieces with textured surfaces called Lenti, as well as the exceptional and highly colorful vases in the now-rare Oriente series. In the 1950s, Barovier & Toso would introduce flat-side cylindrical vases in basketweave cane patterns or checkerboard designs.

Seguso Vetri d’Arte was another firm that made strides in the 1930s but really came into its own after the war. Some of its thick, organic-shaped vases were three-sided, others w...

Of the post-war Murano glass factories, Venini is perhaps the most highly regarded, and certainly the best known. In addition to boasting the talents of Paolo Venini himself, who perfected the sommerso technique in the 1930s and used the traditional technique of inciso to create vases that appeared to glow from within, the company attracted architects and artists such as Carlo Scarpa, Fulvia Bianconi, and Gio Ponti to Murano.

Scarpa was considered the Frank Lloyd Wright of glass, which is to say that he injected modernism into the look of this traditional medium. After Scarpa left Venini in the 1940s to devote himself to architecture, his son, Tobia, joined the firm. Bianconi took his background as an illustrator and applied it to glass, using the emphatic forms produced by Venini’s glassblowers as armatures for his witty explorations of color—patchworks, horizontal stripes, and polka dots were particular favorites.

Ponti was an architect by training but Venini brought out the painter in him. For Venini, he designed flared vases constructed of nothing but multi-colored lengths of cane, or bottles wrapped in frilly spirals to suggest the lines of a skirt. Even his most ostensibly conservative pieces contained colorful twists, such as a bulbous-bottomed bottle whose body is perfectly bisected by a shift from red to green.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Loetz.com

Loetz.com

This fabulous site is a guide to Bohemian art glass makers from 1885 to 1920. Loetz was the premier Bohemian glass … [read review or visit site]

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Chris and Val Stewart’s impressive attempt to create a complete catalogue of all known cloud glass, a decorative … [read review or visit site]

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

The heart of this website, home of the Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club, is the Identification Project, whe… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Stunning Vintage Large Chunky Murano Bowl Blue Orange Clear Art Glass SculptureStunning Pair Of Barovier Toso Gold Lamps Super Clean! Murano Vintage Glass ModMurano 1954 A.v.e.m. Bizzantina Silver/gold Aventurine Tutti Frutti Vase - A1Rare Xl Murano Glass Vase Battuto Glassmaster Luca Vidal SignedDino Martens For Aureliano Toso Bird Vase Model 5304Murano 1961 Claret/topaz Double Sommerso Facetted Diamond Prism Vase -pristineMurano Cenedese Bowl Vase Oval Amber Tan Clear GlassMid Century Murano Art Glass Lamp - Blue With Gold Inclusions Hugh 14.5 Inch C.1960’s Seguso Sommerso Art Glass Murano Vase SculptureVintage Retro Mid Century 50s Italian Murano Sommerso Art Glass Vase Beautiful!!Murano Vintage Glass SwanRare Xl Murano Glass Vase Pezzato Glass Master Angelo Ballarin SignedMurano Amethyst/purple/cobalt Treble Sommerso Winged Controlled Bubble Vase -a1 Stunning Large Vintage Mid Century Modern Sommerso Art Glass Vase Czech MuranoMurano Scarce 1963 Amethyst Sommerso Cube Prism Vase - PerfectRare Xl Murano Glass Vase Pezzato Glass Master Angelo Ballarin SignedVery Rare Mvm Cappellin Vittorio Zecchin Sofiati 16 In Vase Italian Glass MuranoVtg Venetian Murano Cobalt Blue Glass Decanter Set 6 Glasses Gold Ballerina Yqz1950s Seguso Vetri D'arte Flavio Poli Murano Art Glass Studio Vase Venetian Mid Century Barbini - Murano Label, Vintage Venetian Glass Freeform Ashtray BowlRare Murano Glass Vase Xl Glass Factory Eugenio Ferro Signed13 Murano Art Glass Animal Figurines - Octopus - Birds - Dogs - Snail - FishHand Blown Glass Art Wall Bowl/table Platter Murano Dirwood Made With CanesRare Top Xl Murano Glass Vase Incalmo Glass Factory Eugenio Ferro SignedBeautiful Murano Venetian Glass Dolphin Stemmed GobletAnzolo Fuga Avem Murano VaseRare Antike 40’ - 50’ Murano Glass Vase Skulpture Xl Glassmaster Zanetti SignedRare Vintage Murano Geometric Uranium/vaseline Art Glass Sommerso PaperweightSigned Murano Sommerso Submerged Art Glass Freeform Vintage Modernist Vase 8lbsVintage Italian Glass Apothecary Candy Jar Circus Tent Peacock Blue Italy EmpoliVintage Murano Wedding Cake Beads From Broken NecklaceItalian Small Millefiori Glass Amphora "nice"Mid Century Italian Murano Gold Leaf Art Glass Cat Figure NrHalf & Half Barbini Large Murano Geode Mid Century Bowl Nr Venini Barovier Mcm Faceted Vase - Murano - GreyVintage Pink Gold Yellow & White Latticino Venetian Art Glass Tumbler Or VaseVintage Murano Mandruzzato Faceted Sommerso Red Glass Vase Modernist Mid CenturySigned ! Vintage Murano ** Noted Artist Licio Zanetti** Owl Sculpture - Signed!Murano Glass Trees-clear & Blue-original Tags Made In Italy-mintGlass Cigarette Case Murano Italy Bubble Gold Hinged Vanity Vintage Hollywood Beautiful Murano Venetian Fish Stemmed GobletVintage Murano Fluted Bowl W/ Gold & Silver Fleck, Cranberry ColorAntique Murano Italy Deep Ruby Red Glass Fan Vase Gold ConnectorVintage Murano Art Glass Bowl Green And GoldGenuine *vintage Large* Murano Millefiori Art Glass ClownMurano Venetian Vintage Glass Clown Decanter.Large 50s Sdv Seguso Dalla Venezia Art Glass Double Based Clam Bowl Murano ItalyAmber Glass Decanter Bottle - Silver Overlay Venice Gondola & Lion - Murano ?Exquisite Smoke Grey Cased Art Glass Lamp Light Murano Italy Italian RewiredVintage Murano Art Glass Gold Aventurine Angel Figurine Candle Holder Italy Murano Art Glass Bowl - Galaxy Tutti Frutti Millefiori Silver Fleck Black Casing (2) Italian Murano Venetian Glass Christmas TreesMurano Art ? Class Rooster Chicken, Orange/white/glass ColorsGorgeous Multi-colored Murano Latticino Pinched Heart Shape Dish Vintage Murano Alexandtrite Neodymium Cased Submerged Swan Large Sculpture Lilac Blue Murano Barbini Glass Bookends Purple WhiteVenini "anni Trenta" 5 Inch Copa Verde OpalinoAuthentic Signed Murano Art Glass Blue Red Green White Cockatoo Bird LargeArchimede Seguso Murano Dark Green Wavy Design Trinket Ring Dish Bowl Vintage!One Italian Stelvio Opaline Cased Art Glass Vase Original Labels And Box

Recent News: Murano and Italian Art Glass

Source: Google News

Brand gangs and tribal loyalty
Financial Times, September 21st

and pouch coats and then in a fitted dress in a sober collection that focused on python, animal print and fine knit rib dresses; they were accessorised with neckpieces, bracelets and tiny gemlike clutches made of handblown Murano glass and bubbly...Read more

Salvatore Ferragamo Spring 2015 RTW
Vogue.com, September 21st

Like the artisanal Murano-glass industry itself, Ferragamo has undergone several reincarnations—and re-emerged under Giornetti's hand with a slicker operation and cleaner lines. He conjured up an accomplished and deceptively simple collection of...Read more

Haven: House gets another revival
Philly.com, September 20th

In the dining room, a Murano glass chandelier hangs over a banquet-size table. Maurer made the crimson-and-cream upholstered wall panels and the window treatments, picking up colors in the oriental carpet. White tile and Crane fixtures in the first...Read more

Design notebook: The best wood bedside tables
Telegraph.co.uk, September 19th

Together with Murano glass artisans, Acqua di Parma, the Italian perfumer of almost 100 years, has produced three new scented candles. Linden Trees, Mahogany and Tonka are contained in yellow-, black- or red-striped mouth-blown glasses, and cost £90 ...Read more

Designer banished dark wood from grand Tudor with Tuscan touch
Greenville News, September 19th

Deep blue drapes and white woodwork draw out those colors, and a large Murano glass chandelier casts a glow over the table. The chairs are by art deco master furniture maker Jules Leleu. Sabrina Balsky, a designer with Balsky Interiors in New York, ...Read more

Art Gallery Shines Light on Venice Glass
PSFK, September 19th

The object is a beautiful souvenir – a PET bottle filled with Murano glass powder, a residue of the traditional method of glass production in Venice. According to its creators, the bottle symbolizes the essence of Venice that you can take home with you...Read more

For Sale: Newton's Funkiest Mansion
Boston.com, September 19th

Yes, we can take you to Funkytown. And it won't take as long as you might think. This contemporary Newton mansion is close to Newton Centre and was completely rebuilt in the late 1990s by the owners. The home sits on a 0.61 acre lot and has a very...Read more

Different Craft Ideas Where You Can Use Decorative Glass Gems
GroundReport, August 27th

Murano glass was likewise celebrated for its shades. The approaches to shade was by utilizing diverse coloring operators and chemicals. A coloring operator was ground, blended and afterward liquefied with the glass. Huge numbers of these coloring ...Read more