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    

Contemporay Italian Figural Green Art Glass Vase Picasso Style Italy 20thc Murano Scarce 7" Cobalt/topaz/azure 1968 Treble Sommerso Prism Column Vase -a1Rare Xl Murano Glass Vase Acquarium Glass Master Francesco Ragazzi SignedVintage Signed Venini Murano Italian Studio Glass Bottle / VaseVintage 1960s Murano Sommerso Art Glass Vase Eames Retro Mid Century ModernRare Top Xxl Unique 1/1 Murano Glass Vase Battuto Glass Master Luca Vidal SignedMurano 8.1" Grey/peacock/topaz/azure 1958 Quad Sommerso Facetted Prism Vase -a1Murano 1972 Magenta/sapphire Double Sommerso Textured Diamond Prism Vase -a1 Murano Rare 1968 Cobalt/topaz Double Sommerso Elongated Diamond Prism Vase -a1Italian Venetian Murano Cobalt Blue Glass Teapot Teaset 18k Gold &enamel FlowersBeautiful C.1960’s Murano Geode Cased Art Glass VaseFlavio Poli Seguso Murano Sommerso Organic Vase 1950's 1960's Original Design NrBarovier Murano Italian Studio Zebrati Art Glass Ashtray Bowl Blue Gold FoilRare Unique Museal Murano Glass Sculpture Glassmaster Gian Signoretto SignedUnique Xxl Murano Glass Sculpture Incalmo Glass Master Francesco Ragazzi SignedWonderfull Xl Murano Glass Sculpture Calcedonio Glass Master Tagliapietra SignedMurano 1964 Red/crimson/azure Treble Sommerso Hexagonal Cubist Prism Vessel - A1Murano Millefiori Oval Glass Bowl 8.75"6 Vintage Murano Venetian Glass Angel Figurine Candlestick Christmas Nativity Antique Italian Glass Tesserae Micro Mosaic Plaque Tile Set Into MountMurano Red/crimson 1973 Double Sommerso Textural Convex Pillow Vase -pristineUnique Xl Signed Murano Inspired Abstract Picasso Multi Colour Art Glass Vase Vintage Italian Murano Handcrafted Glass Red/clear Christmas Tree OriginalG Veryvery Fine Tesserae Antique Italian Glass Tesserae Micro Mosaic Plaque TileHand Blown Glass Art Bowl Urn Vase Murano End Of Day Purple Blue Red Gold AquaVenini Art Deco Murano Picture Frame Carlo Scarpa 1938 Signed!!!!!Rare Antique Salviati Venetian Glass Dragon Goblet Ex!Top Xxl Murano Glass Vase A Canne Glass Master Gabriele Urban SignedMurano Scarce 1963 Emerald/leaf/topaz Treble Sommerso Geometric Cube Prism Vase Venini Gio Ponti Lge.murano Italian 14" Amethyst Apothecary Mid Century ModernMurano Glass Fish Aquarium Sculpture Paperweight With Label E Veryvery Fine Tesserae Antique Italian Glass Tesserae Micro Mosaic Plaque TileMurano Lamp Base Dark Red Bubble Archimede Suguso Bullicante Retains Part LabelRare Xl Murano Glass Vase Pezzato Glass Master Angelo Ballarin SignedLovely Vintage Luigi Onesto Oggetti Murano Glass 7" Chinese FigureBeautiful Large Signed Murano Gold Adventurine (gold Flecks) Cat Figurine Stunning Vintage Venetian Murano Glass Lady Figurine With Millefiori SkirtAntique Venetian Trade Beads 2 Rare Murano Glass Aventurine Black Brick Red OldPair Barbini Murano Art Glass Figurine Mid Centure No ReserveWonderfull Xl Murano Glass Vase Incalmo Glass Master A. Mandruzzato SignedVintage Blue Opaline Cenedese Murano Italy Art Glass Gilt Ormolu Hinged BoxTop Murano Glass Sculpture Incalmo Glass Master Francesco Ragazzi SignedVintage Murano Glass Bird Sculpture No Reserve!2 Murano Italy Glass Gold Flake Christmas Pine Tree 8 Inch Org. Sticker11" Murano Venetian Venini Art Glass Red Applied Spaghetti Swirl Beehive VaseMurano Glass Vase With Murrine Zecchin SignedMurano Glass Vase Pezzato Glass Master Angelo Ballarin SignedVintage 3 Tier Green Glass Candy Jar Christmas TreeC1950s Murano Venetian Glass Bowl Sculpture Fratelli Toso Ermanno Copper ItalyStunning Murano Hand-blown Art Glass Red, Yellow, Orange Vase Perfect ConditionVenini Gio Ponti Murano Italian 7 1/2" Pair Cobalt Apothecary Mid Century ModernMurano Magnum Mid-20th Century Large Caned Concentric ClosepackVintage 27" Seguso Opalescent Murano Glass Decanter Bottle W/stopper Venini EraVenini Murano Cream & Blue Vase /signedVintage Murano Red Blue Green Glass VaseRare Empoli Glass Decanter Dog Design 1970s Italy Retro Wow DachshundMassive 35.5cm Archimede Seguso Murano Art Glass Bird Seguso Vetri D'arte Rare Art Deco Modernistic Avem Murano Italy Art Glass Paperweight - SignedVintage Millefiori Italian Art Glass Paperweight End Of Day, Multi Color CanesVenini Gio Ponti Lge.murano Italian 12 1/2" Teal Apothecary Mid Century Modern

Recent News: Murano and Italian Art Glass

Source: Google News

Globetrotter: From Louis Vuitton exhibit to Burma cruise
Chron.com, November 26th

Paris: Frank Gehry's striking design for the Louis Vuitton Foundation merits its own exhibition at the Bois de Boulogne museum, through March 16. On permanent display: equally striking works by Ellsworth Kelly, Olafur Eliasson and other modern artists...Read more

Welcome to the new Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.
4Hoteliers, November 25th

Silver-leafed bathroom ceilings and Murano glass fixtures cast a flattering glow as guests indulge in complimentary toiletries by Etro. Many families and business travellers are choosing one of eleven Imperial Suites, each with large living and dining...Read more

JW Marriott to Open First Italian Hotel in Venice and First Resort in Europe ...
Hotel News Resource (press release) (registration), November 25th

Guests will also be able to try authentic Murano Glass and Venetian Mask making with weekly workshops led by local artisans. JW Marriott Venice is the brand's sixth European hotel. Global openings planned include JW Marriott Cabo San Lucas Resort, ...Read more

Photo Release -- JW Marriott to Open Unique Luxury Private Island Resort in ...
Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release), November 24th

Guests will also be able to try authentic Murano Glass and Venetian Mask making with weekly workshops led by local artisans. JW Marriott Venice is the brand's sixth European hotel. Global openings planned include JW Marriott Cabo San Lucas Resort, ...Read more

New Openings: The Grill at the Dorchester
Telegraph.co.uk, November 24th

that take the room from day to night, by a chic palette of burnt gold, polished copper and caramelised sugar, and an otherworldly hand-blown Murano glass chandelier by Aristide Najean that could almost have been pieced together from amber stalagmites...Read more

Glass artist and sculptor join Gallery Odin at Silver Star
Vernon Morning Star, November 23rd

She recently traveled to Tacoma, Wash. to witness the Italian glass maestro Lino Tagliapietra at work. “The fused glass pieces created by Sharda are intended to express both the beauty of the natural world and the current state of life in our culture...Read more

At Chapel Hill galleries, visions in glass and paint
Durham Herald Sun, November 22nd

moment when he visited the Murano glass factories in Venice, Italy, where he saw glassblowers working at small outside furnaces demonstrating their technique to tourists. Prior to this Littleton believed that glass could only be made in an industrial...Read more

An obsession with mid-century modern furnishings
MiamiHerald.com, November 21st

New chandeliers of handcrafted Murano glass share the space with Colombostile handmade furniture and Onessimo fine art. Owners Bradford Paige and Marcello Boss also show pieces from other periods such as mid-century modern and a chair Paige ...Read more