Venice and American Studio Glass

International conference

The Glass Study Centre is organising an International Conference on Monday 11 January at 6 pm (CET), live on YouTube, on the background to the American Studio Glass movement, founded in the United States in the 1960s



The international conference Venice and American Studio Glass, promoted by the Glass Study Centre, is scheduled for Monday 11 January 2021 at 6 pm (CET) live on the Fondazione Giorgio Cini YouTube channel. The conference will explore the background to the Studio Glass movement which saw glass progressively become a revitalised medium and means of expression for the creativity of American artists.

In fact, in the mid-20th century, the laboratories of the Toledo Museum of Art developed a growing interest in glass blowing techniques. A key factor in this new development was the powerful influence that traditional Venetian techniques, and therefore Murano aesthetics, exercised on the study and unexpected evolution of glass in contemporary art. The great impact of Venetian glassmaking was due to its use by illustrious masters, such as Dale Chihuly, Benjamin Moore, Dante Marioni, William Morris and Lino Tagliapietra, who steered experimental developments towards non-tradition- al paths, radically influencing artists and designers of the new generation.

Thanks to the presence of internationally renowned artists and experts – such as Tina Oldknow, William Warmus, Kim Harty, Lino Tagliapietra, Katya Heller, Norwood Viviano, Deborah Czeresko, Preston Singletary, Raven Skyriver, Flora Mace, Joey Kirkpatrick, Tina Aufiero and Kait Rhoads – the conference will examine the diverse dynamics and variants that this singular “love relationship” with Venetian glass set in motion through its growing diffusion in the United States and rest of the world.


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  • Venice and American Studio Glass, installation view, ph. Enrico Fiorese
  • Venice and American Studio Glass, installation view, ph. Enrico Fiorese
  • Venice and American Studio Glass, installation view, ph. Enrico Fiorese

Thomas Stearns, a Young American Artist at Venini

International Conference7 November 2019

The Glass Study Centre is organising an International Conference on Thursday 7 November on the work of the American artist who arrived in Murano in the early 1960s


In connection with the exhibition at LE STANZE DEL VETRO, ‘Thomas Stearns at Venini’, curated by Marino Barovier, the Glass Study Centre is organising, on Thursday 7 November, an international conference focussing on the work of Thomas Stearns. 

The appointment will retrace the production of Thomas Stearns, who in the early 1960s arrived at Venini, establishing a harmonious relationship with the director of the firm, the architect Ludovico de Santillana.Thomas Stearns’s varied and successful experience will be investigated at this symposium, not only by revisiting the artistic achievements resulting from his stay in Venice, but also by analysing the specific modes and the influences of his innovative experimental approach on subsequent works.

The symposium will study the career of Thomas Stearns in depth, thanks to the contributions of the glass master Lino Tagliapietra  and scholars and critics, among whom Rosa Barovier Mentasti, Carla Sonego, Kevin McManus, Robert Beyer and Désirée Koslin

The conference is open to the public until all available places are taken. 

Maurice Marinot: 1911-1934. The Glass

International Conference16 May 2019

The Glass Study Centre is organising an International Conference on 16 May on the work of the great French artist

In connection with the exhibition at LE STANZE DEL VETRO, Maurice Marinot. The Glass, 1911-1934, curated by Jean-Luc Olivié, Musée des Arts décoratifs of Paris and Cristina Beltrami, the Glass Study Centre is organising, on Thursday 16 May, an international conference focussing on the work of Maurice Marinot. 

A unique ‘case’, where for the first time an adult artist, without any initial training in the craft, dedicated more than twenty years of his career to the creation of works based on the ancient artisan technique of blown glass. This circumstance, united with an exceptional creativity and guided by a simple but acute attention to the plastic possibilities of this ‘solidified water’, led him to the creation of unique pieces, in a completely new aesthetic, very soon perceived by his contemporaries to be a natural and precious expression of modernity. The originality of his work was soon recognised far and wide, especially through international exhibitions, and exercised a profound influence on various following generations. The symposium will study the career of Maurice Marinot in depth, thanks to the contributions of scholars and critics, among whom Jean-Luc Olivié, Cristina Beltrami, Veronique Ayroles, Adriaenssens Werner and Jared Goss.

The conference is open to the public until all available places are taken.


Download the program of the conference

  • Installation view, ph. Enrico Fiorese
  • Installation view, ph. Enrico Fiorese
  • Installation view, ph. Enrico Fiorese

Artists’ Conversation

A Furnace in Marseille. Cirva22 May, from 3 pm to 5 pm

An ‘open dialogue’ with some of the artists who have worked with Cirva over these thirty years of activity

Artists’ Conversation will be held on 22 May, from 3 to 5 pm in the Teatrino at Palazzo Grassi to look closer at the extraordinary relationship between contemporary art and glass proposed by Isabelle Reiher and Chiara Bertola in the exhibition ‘A Furnace in Marseille. Cirva’. This is a kind of ‘open dialogue’ with some of the most prestigious people who have worked with Cirva over its thirty years of activity, including Giuseppe Caccavale, Pierre Charpin, Lieven De Boeck, Remo Salvadori and Jana Sterbak. The conversation is open to the public, free admission, no booking is required.

The Cappellin Glassworks

International conference27 February 2018

The Centro Studi del Vetro is organising an international conference on 27 February focussing on the story of the Maestri Vetrai Muranesi Cappellin & C. founded by Giacomo Cappellin

In connection with the next autumn exhibition of LE STANZE DEL VETRO, ‘The Cappellin Glassworks and the Young Carlo Scarpa’ curated by Marino Barovier, the Glass Study Center is coordinating an international conference which will explore the story of the Maestri Vetrai Muranesi Cappellin & C. glassworks founded by Giacomo Cappellin after the end of the collaboration with Paolo Venini and V.S.M. Cappellin Venini & C. The one-day conference will concentrate on the entire production of the Cappellin glassworks (active from 1925 to 1931), highlighting in particular Carlo Scarpa’s artistic contribution.

The topics discussed will focus on the figure of the great architect and designer in glass, his activities during the 1920s and his relationship with the arts. The Cappellin production and exhibitions in Paris and the United States will also be studied, as well as the relationships of the firm with Turin artists, with a thorough study of its exceptional production of stained-glass windows.


Programme of the conference

Ettore Sottsass: The Glass

International Conference25 May 2017

To coincide with the exhibition “Ettore Sottsass: The Glass”, the Glass Study Center is organizing on the 25th May, 2017 an important international conference about the architect’s creative methods especially as regards his glass production.

The aim of this international conference being held to accompany the exhibition Ettore Sottsass: The Glass is to present various descriptions of the architect’s creative methods especially as regards his glass production, in order to understand how this fitted in with his concept of architectural and industrial design.

The one-day conference is divided into three sessions, in which architects, museum curators and directors who worked with Sottsass will provide a historical interpretation, situating his production of glass, ceramics and jewellery in the wider international context of the period art, architecture and culture. A second session will be devoted to the more human and personal aspects of Ettore Sottsass through the voices of collectors, gallery owners, patrons and collaborators who worked with him and often became close friends. The meeting will end with an open, informal discussion in which master glassmakers – whose work was often referred to by Sottsass as a fundamental component of his art – will describe their relationships and cooperation with the great artist, thus also illustrating what working in the Murano glass furnaces meant for him.


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  • Portrait of Ettore Sottsass. Ph Bruno Gecchelin © Ettore Sottsass by SIAE 2017

Vittorio Zecchin 1878-1947.
Painting and Decorative Arts in Venice

International Conference14 March 2017

The sixth international conference organized by the Glass Study Center – focussing on the designers who have collaborated with the Venini glassworks – will take place on 14 March 2017. The conference will be dedicated to the Murano artist Vittorio Zecchin (1878 – 1947).

After graduating from Venice fine art school, Zecchin soon stood out for his impatience with the late 19th-century verista culture and, on the contrary, his interest in some of the new ideas stemming from the Venice Biennale, which led him to pursue research into Symbolism and the works of the Middle-European avant-gardes. Having taken part in the intense season of exhibitions with Ca’ Pesaro as a driving force in Venice (at this time he made and showed tapestries, embroidery and enamelled glass), Zecchin came into contact and collaborated with various people active in the city, such as the painter Teodoro Wolf Ferrari and the glassmakers Artisti Barovier. In his prominent role as artistic director of Cappellin Venini (1921-1925) and then M.V.M. Cappellin & C. (from 1926), he designed glass with an innovative impact and original refinements without ever neglecting research into the stylisation of form.

The main contributions will address Zecchin’s practice and inventive skills, exploring his interests and competences, starting with his Venetian background. The conference will also focus on his personal approach to the decorative arts, on the close relationship between painting, glass and applied arts in the Italian and international scenario and on Zecchin’s participation in the major events of the time, such as the Monza Biennale exhibitions between 1923 and 1927.


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Vienna e il vetro Moderno: 1900-1937

International conference6 May 2016 Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Venice

To coincide with the exhibition The Glass of the Architects. Vienna 1900-1937, the Glass Study Center is organising an important conference dedicated to the production of artistic glass in Vienna and Venice between 1900 and 1937

The international conference “Vienna and Modern glass. 1900-1937” will take place on Friday 6th May 2016 at 9:30am at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini on the island of San Giorgio in Venice. The conference is organised by the Glass Study Center in conjunction with the exhibition “The Glass of the Architects. Vienna 1900-1937” at LE STANZE DEL VETRO (until 31st July 2016).

At the beginning of the twentieth century, a decisive impulse and inspiration was brought to architecture and applied arts to stimulate creativity, research and innovative technologies in central Europe.

The symposium aims to examine some key aspects of this period, including the Viennese Secession’s experimentation with new lines of research and styles in the arts and architecture; the birth of new decorative arts movements such as the Wiener Wekstätte; the relationship between design, craftsmanship and production; the key role of important architects such as Josef Hoffmann and Adolf Loos.

The conference will also analyse the innovative ways of conceiving glass as a modern material in Viennese architecture, the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne in 1914, and finally the use of the ‘lamp blown’ technique in Venice and Vienna.


Paolo Venini and his furnace

International conference16th February 2016 Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venice

The event will focus on Paolo Venini, an enlightened and creative entrepreneur, between innovation, tradition and international collaborations

On Tuesday February 16th 2016 Paolo Venini, (1895-1959) in his important role of enlightened and creative entrepreneur, will be the theme of an international conference held at the Giorgio Cini Foundation and coordinated by the Glass Study Centre. A skilled director of his company, careful both to the artistic trends of his time and to the needs of the international market, especially during the Fifties, Paolo Venini also created new series of glass himself. If we follow the history of the Murano glassware, one of the fundamental insights of Paolo Venini was to modernize the catalogue of the company through new and refined lines, whilst still enhancing the traditional techniques and crafts.

The focus will be on the collaboration between Paolo Venini and new actors, including international ones, such as the Swedish ceramist Tyra Lundgren known for her fun “bestiary”. The works created after World War II, during a fruitful collaboration with the architect Gio Ponti, will also be analysed and compared; together with the series produced through close cooperation with the designer Piero Fornasetti, and the painters Riccardo Licata and Eugene Berman, in the second half of the Twentieth Century.

The great American exhibitions will also be addressed, as well as the relationship with Ken Scott and Charles Lin Tissot. A further contribution will be dedicated to the architects Massimo Vignelli and Tobia Scarpa, who were always present in Venini’s life.


  • Venini, 'checkered murrine' glass vases, 1954

Glass from Finland

International conference

During the exhibition “Glass from Finland in the Bischofberger Collection“, curated by Kaisa Koivisto and Pekka Korvenmaa (13 April — 2 August 2015) and organised by LE STANZE DEL VETRO on the Island of San Giorgio, the Institute of Art History’s Glass Study Centre will hold an international conference devoted to Finnish glass and its influence on the international scene.

The conference is intended to be a scholarly complement to the exhibition and will cast light on the development of Finnish design from the early 1930s to the 1970s. Major experts will contribute by exploring various aspects of the subject, including the history of Finnish design and its influence on glass worldwide. In the period in question, along with renowned designers – such as the husband and wife Aino and Alvar Aalto, other rising stars of Scandinavian design came to the fore, including Arttu Brummer, Gunnel Nyman and Göran Hongell. This was also a time when significant collaborations were established between Italian companies and Finnish artists, as in the highly successful case of the Venini Glassworks, Tapio Wirkkala and Timo Sarpaneva.

  • Oiva Toikka. Kastehelmi (Dewdrop). Plate, c. 1964. Nuutajärvi. Bischofberger Collection, Switzerland. Photo: Rauno Träskelin

Fulvio Bianconi

Artist and glass designer

On the occasion of the exhibition “Fulvio Bianconi at Venini”, the Glass Study Centre at the Institute of Art History held an international conference to explore the work of this multifaceted artist. The aim was to provide the public with a portrait of an outstanding personality in terms of his highly varied interests and skills.

On Wednesday February 4th 2015, the Glass Study Centre at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini organised a conference on Fulvio Bianconi (1915-1996): artist, graphic designer, illustrator and one of the most influential designers of Murano glass in the 20th century. Bianconi was an untiring experimenter; he constantly explored new and ancient glass-making techniques in his research and eclectic production. The Glass Study Centre is a permanent centre for glass research, established in 2012 within the Institute of Art History, with the support of Pentagram Stiftung.

The conference, with contributions from scholars and experts, was organised in order to offer a scientific overview of the forthcoming exhibition “Fulvio Bianconi at Venini” curated by Marino Barovier, which will open at LE STANZE DEL VETRO in autumn (13th September 2015 – 10th January 2016).

Following the welcome speech by Luca Massimo Barbero, director of the Institute of History at the Giorgio Cini Foundation, and a few words from Marino Barovier, curator of the exhibition “Fulvio Bianconi at Venini”, the morning session featured the following speeches: Italo Moscati’s contribution on the 12 figures of the “Commedia dell&Arte” – the result of a fruitful collaboration between Bianconi and Paolo Venini, which was exhibited at the 24th Venice Biennale in 1948; C. Beltrami investigated Fulvio Bianconi’s work as a graphic designer and illustrator. Paolo Bolpagni investigated Bianconi’s traits in the artistic context of the 1950s, in particular the relationship between art and design.

In the afternoon session, Rosa Barovier Mentasti gave a speech entitled “The other Bianconi in Murano”; Andrea Tosi Fulvio gave a presentation on Bianconi’s activities in the furnaces of Murano and the result of the marriage of art and design with the technical and manual skills of the glass masters. In the closing session, Fiorella Bulegato offered an insight into Fulvio Bianconi and Bruno Munari and the Milanese design in the 1930s.

Tomaso Buzzi, a protagonist
of the Italian modern taste

The first event organised by the Institute of Art History in 2014 – the 60th anniversary year of its foundation – is an international conference to commemorate the great 20th-century architect and designer Tomaso Buzzi.

The Glass Study Centre at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini is a permanent centre for research on glass, established in 2012 within the Institute of Art History (which in 2014 celebrated its 60th anniversary) with the support of Pentagram Stiftung. On the 21st February 2014 the Glass Study Centre organised a symposium on the distinguished architect and designer Tomaso Buzzi (1900-1981). This conference prepared the academic and research ground for the autumn exhibition entitled “Tomaso Buzzi at Venini” (13th September 2014 – 11th January 2015), curated by Marino Barovier which focused on Buzzi’s works in the years when he collaborated with the Murano glassworks (1932-1933).

A friend and collaborator of Gio Ponti, Buzzi became one of the most important creators of the Italian taste in the 1930s and ’40s, and set the benchmark for many artists in the following years. He was not only an architect and industrial and interior designer; he also collaborated with the magazine Domus, and worked for some prominent members of the Italian aristocracy: Volpi, Cini and Visconti, to mention but a few. Buzzi was involved in projects for important buildings such as the Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan, recently restored by the FAI, and Palladio’s Villa Maser at Treviso. In Venice, he worked on renovations for Palazzo Papadopoli, Palazzo Labia and Palazzo Cini at San Vio, where he made two small but significant contributions between 1956 and 1958: the creation of the charming Rococo-style oval room and the addition of a spiral staircase.

Chaired by Valerio Terraroli (University of Verona), the morning session started with Marco Solari, the artist’s nephew, who presented Buzzi’s phantasmagorical experience; blending music and colours, which in 1956 led him to acquire La Scarzuola, a 13th-century monastery with annexed church at Montegabbione (Terni). Buzzi’s intention was to redesign it as a kind of “ideal city”. Lucia Borromeo (FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano) described Buzzi’s work for the Villa Necchi Campiglio in Milan in 1938, three years after it had been designed by Piero Portaluppi; Roberto Dulio and Cecilia Rostagni (Politecnico di Milano) illustrated Buzzi and Ponti’s taste in the famous magazine Domus. Elena Pontiggia (Accademia di Brera, Milan) investigated Milanese culture during the major exhibitions of the 1930s, which featured Buzzi’s work; Alberto Anselmi (IUAV, Venice) focused on Buzzi’s activities in Rome; while Elena Portinari (Ca’ Foscari, Venice) closed the morning session with a talk on Buzzi and Venice.

The afternoon session, chaired by Lucia Borromeo, opened with a talk by Irene de Guttry and Maria Paola Maino (Archivi Arte Applicate, Rome) which illustrated Tomaso Buzzi’s activities as an interior designer and his involvement in the world of ceramics. Silvia Chiesa (lecturer in art history) presented new elements that have emerged from the architect’s invaluable archives, while Giovanna D’Amia (Politecnico di Milano) explored Buzzi’s relationship with the Valtellina area (he was born in Sondrio on the 30th September 1900). Paola Tognon (IULM, Milano) investigated Buzzi’s Ideario, with all its antique and modern glass, stone, ceramics and wood; Alberto Giorgio Cassani (Accademia di Belle Arti, Venice), author of a successful monograph on Buzzi, investigated his theatrical interests. Valerio Terraroli closed the afternoon session with a lecture on the complex relationship between Buzzi and Ponti, which was initially friendly and prolific but ended in an irreparable rift.

  • T.Buzzi, drawing for Zoomorphic vase in the shape of a cow’s head, 1932, Buzzi Archive, La Scarzuola
  • T.Buzzi, drawing for Vase with sea-horses (o unicorni), 1932-33, Buzzi Archive, La Scarzuola
  • T.Buzzi, sketches of glass bowls of different coloured layers, 1932-1933, Buzzi Archive, La Scarzuola
  • T.Buzzi, drawing of Double mouth vase , Buzzi Archive, La Scarzuola
  • T.Buzzi, sketches of Coppa delle Mani, 1932-1933, Buzzi Archive, La Scarzuola

Napoleone Martinuzzi:
from sculpture to glass

5th June 2013 Giorgio Cini Foundation, Venice

This is an international conference which includes many international speakers, dedicated to the Murano born sculptor and glass designer Napoleone Martinuzzi, ahead of the exhibition “Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925 – 1931” curated by Marino Barovier.

On Wednesday June 5th 2013, the Glass Study Centre at the Fondazione Giorgio Cini organised a symposium on Napoleone Martinuzzi: sculptor, glass designer, friend of Gabriele d’Annunzio and Art Director of the Venini Glassware Company from 1925 to 1931.

The Glass Study Centre is a permanent centre for research on glass, established in 2012 within the Institute of Art History with the support of Pentagram Stiftung. The symposium, which involved the participation of 13 distinguished guest speakers, was organised as part of the activities of LE STANZE DEL VETRO, a joint cultural venture of Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung. The symposium was organised ahead of the exhibition curated by Marino Barovier: “Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925 – 1931” at LE STANZE DEL VETRO on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore (7th September 2013 – 6th December 2014). Napoleone Martinuzzi was a protagonist of his time in many ways. He was first of all a sculptor, trained in Venice and Rome; he collaborated with architect Angiolo Mazzoni on his most important commissions (from Palermo to Gorizia) and he was featured at the Venice Bienniales in the 1920s and ‘30s. He was a friend of Gabriele d&Annunzio, who commissioned him to make not only sculptures but specialty works of glass for “Vittoriale degli Italiani”. He was also the director of the Glass Museum in Murano from 1922 to 1931. In 1932, together with Francesco Zecchin he founded “Zecchin Martinuzzi Artistic Glass and Mosaics” and, in addition, he completed several monumental sculptures.

Aspects surrounding the professional life of Martinuzzi, some of which remain elusive to this day, have been researched by scholars; i.e., Véronique Ayroles (Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs) and highlight a French contribution in the development of Martinuzzi’s glass production for Venini; Maria Sole Cardulli (Rome, National Gallery of Modern Art) investigated Martinuzzi’s sculpural activity in Rome, while Massimo De Sabbata (Udine, Musei Civici) offered an insight into Martinuzzi’s participation in the Biennales of the time. Silvia Silvestri (University of Turin) investigated Martinuzzi’s appearance in art magazines in the period between the two world wars and Milva Giacomelli (University of Florence) researched the prolific relationship between Martinuzzi and Mazzoni. In the closing morning session, Massimo De Grassi (University of Trieste) focussed on Martinuzzi’s visual sources for his sculptural production.

In the afternoon session, chaired by Nico String (Ca &Foscari University of Venice), the speeches focussed on Martinuzzi and his glass production: Rosa Barovier Mentasti examined the visual sources in his glass production, Valerio Terraroli (University of Verona) illustrated the very important bond between d&Annunzio and Martinuzzi, while Chiara Squarcina (Murano Glass Museum) gave an insight on the period during which Martinuzzi was the director of the Glass Museum in Murano. Matteo Gardonio (Glass Study Centre) introduced Martinuzzi’s glass works for the Berlendis Palace where Martinuzzi lived. Alessandra Tiddia (Rovereto, MART) illustrated Martinuzzi’s glass works made in Bolzano and Miramare; Lucia Mannini (University of Florence) presented Martinuzzi’s glass succulent plants, a particularly peculiar and intriguing glass production.

  • Glass elements for wall decorations in bubble glass and in mixed zaffiro glass, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M.Venini & C., around 1930.
  • Napoleone Martinuzzi, Pulegosi, installation view. Photo: Ettore Bellini. Courtesy: LE STANZE DEL VETRO
  • Succulent plants in black glass and in red glass paste, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M. Venini & C., 1929-1930
  • Napoleone Martinuzzi, Succulent Plants, installation view. Photo: Ettore Bellini. Courtesy: LE STANZE DEL VETRO