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c.1938 Barbini VAMSA Bullicante Ducks - Italian Murano Art Glass

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Posted 3 years ago


(175 items)

Picked these up today for $40. I found them online real quick, Alfredo Barbini. They're keepers, I really like them, you don't find good old Italian glass like this very much anymore. Apparently these were designed by Barbini for VAMSA around 1938. I'm definitely putting these in the house somewhere, I'll pass them to my kids

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  1. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Thank Bellin, oh boy I was so happy to find these... Circa 1938, and I was thinkin 60's! Worth a fair amount too
  2. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Such beautiful use of the bubbles in a variety of ways! Gorgeous colour! Special!
  3. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Thanks Vetraio, gosh I'm so happy to have these guys, I just don't see this old Barbini stuff cery much! I'm really intrigued by the "sfumato" technique, Its like soda water bubbles, I wonder how they did it?
  4. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    I have seen a similar technique in Italian called "vetro sommerso a effetto fumato".
    Glassblower, designer and entrepreneur Alfredo Barbini was born in Murano and began working with glass at a very young age. Before the age of twenty, following a brief apprenticeship, he became a glass Maestro at the Cristalleria Franchetti and then at the S.A.I.A.R. Ferro Toso. After 1932, he worked at the Zecchin-Martinuzzi furnace with the sculptor Napoleone Martinuzzi, and began a collaboration which would last through 1936. This would prove to be fundamental to his artistic development, especially in regard to sculpture in solid massiccio glass. In 1937, he became a partner at V.A.M.S.A. and was the Primo Maestro of the main team of the furnace continuing his experimentation with thick glass and executing works designed by the artists Ermenegildo Ripa and Luigi Scarpa Croce. In 1946, he became partner and artistic director of the new furnace, Gino Cenedese & C. With this furnace he participated in the 1948 Biennale di Venezia exhibiting a remarkable series of sculptures in corroso glass such as Torso and Collasso. In 1950, he opened his own furnace, Vetreria Alfredo Barbini, where he continues until today to experiment with plasticity in glass using materials and forms that are more and more essential. This can seen in his series pesci and tulipani or in the vetri pesanti of the early Sixties. Assisted by his son Flavio since 1968, Barbini still works as maestro and artistic director of the furnace he created in 1950.

    there they have a toucan and a duck that they date to 1933.
  5. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    That should read 1938. That is really early for the 'sommerso' technique I think.
  6. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    Here's a link to the Barovier vocabulary of glass terms:
  7. vetraio50 vetraio50, 3 years ago
    The bubbles might be explained further here by that same link above:
    BOLLE (Bullicante)
    A particular decorative effect used in thick glass and consisting in a miriad of large and small “bubbles” , distributed in layers within the thickness of the glass. It may be obtained in two manners: thefirst requires the glass that is being worked to be rolled on a metal surface covered with small sharp “points” so that, as they print a depression on the glass in its malleable state, it comes out with “holes” which will be successively covered with another layer of glass. The result is a real air bubble which remains “trapped” in correspondence to each “hole” . A second system is to use a conic mould patterned with “points” on the inside in which to blow the glass which will come out with “holes” . The subsequent overlay of transparent glass will make the “bubbles” themselves appear."
  8. Stillwater Stillwater, 3 years ago
    Ah wonderful, I've been wanting to learn about all those glass terms, I used to think sommerso and bullicante were makers' names lol! Thanks!

    Yes I read about VAMSA and Barbini as well, I saw a few other birds in this style that were dated at 1938 also

    I've always wondered how they achieved those controlled bubbles, I used to stare at this paperweight I have trying to figure it out. The sfumato must be a different story, there are too many bubbles that are too small to be done with needles.. I'd guess that they use some sort of chemical that releases gas, like how baking powder works in bread

    Thanks a lot Vetraio!
  9. Odat62, 3 years ago
    Nice find!
  10. Manikin Manikin, 3 years ago
    I love these Stillwater and sorry I had missed them before . I think if you blink on here we can miss some wonderful posts. Gorgeous !
  11. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 2 years ago
    Stunning Stillwater. Definitely one to keep & pass on they're fantastic
  12. Vintagefran Vintagefran, 2 years ago
    Good post too. Nice reference site Vetraio, thanks:)
  13. Stillwater Stillwater, 2 years ago
    Thank you Vintage!
  14. Stillwater Stillwater, 2 years ago
    And thank you too Manikin

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