Napoleone Martinuzzi.Venini 1925 — 1931

Curated by Marino Barovier8 September 2013 — 6 January 2014

This is the second exhibition dedicated to the history of the Venini glassware company and shows about 200 works, covering the most significant glass production that the ingenious sculptor Napoleone Murano designed for the Murano glassware company Venini.

The exhibition “Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925 — 1931”, curated by Marino Barovier, opens to the public on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice on September 8th, 2013. It is the second exhibition dedicated to the history of the Venini glassware company. As in the case of the exhibition “Carlo Scarpa. Venini 1932 — 1947” which opened on the Island of San Giorgio last August and will open at the Metropolitan Museum of Contemporary Art in New York next November (November 5th, 2013 — March 2nd, 2014) – this exhibition, dedicated to Napoleone Martinuzzi, is made possible thanks to thorough research by Marino Barovier and a group of scholars into the history of the Murano glass-making company and the important designers who contributed to making it world renowned.

Through their analysis and cross-checking of various documentary sources (photos, catalogues, furnace drawings) and their comparison with the real objects provided by museums, public and private institutions, Italian and foreign collectors, a comprehensive review was made of the glass objects designed by Napoleone Martinuzzi between 1925 and 1931, when he was the Art Director of Venini. During his collaboration with Paolo Venini, Martinuzzi designed beautiful objects with shapes inspired by classical design, while using innovative techniques and glass paste.

The exhibition “Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925 — 1931” traces his whole production chronologically: from elegant transparent blown glass to works with an unprecedented opaque texture, from the experimentations with “pulegoso” glass (a semi-opaque or translucent glass with a rough surface due to tiny bubbles that form by using special ingredients) to pieces with intense and compact colours. There are about 200 works on display, covering the most significant glass production of the ingenious sculptor from Murano. Many of these works were presented at the Venice Biennale between 1926 and 1930, and at the great exhibitions of decorative arts, in particular the Biennale and the Triennale in Monza. The year 1930 was an important one in the history of Venini: thanks to Martinuzzi’s talent, Venini&s production was noted for the singular richness of the works shown at these great exhibitions. The classical transparent glass pieces were presented, along with a collection of “pulegoso” glass with an archaic flavor, including striking aquariums together with the brightly coloured “velato” vases, and the cacti together with a colourful bestiary.

The exhibition also delves into the bond between Martinuzzi and the poet Gabriele D’Annunzio, who commissioned the Murano artist to make not only sculptures but works of glass too. To illustrate this particular bond and the artistic vision shared by these two personalities, the exhibition also contains a recreation by the set designer Pierluigi Pizzi of one of the rooms of the Vittoriale, with some of the most important works that Martinuzzi designed for the poet: the bright pumpkin made of “incamiciato” glass (where the glass is covered by a second thin layer of different coloured glass) which Martinuzzi designed upon specific request by the poet for his residence, the vase with large ribbed handles, the large basket with fruit, the transparent blue glass cup and the elephant made of red vitreous paste. Each of these objects is unique.

 

View the catalogue

  • Vases in red cased glass, green bubble glass, blue clear glass and succulent plant in blue bubble glass, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M.Venini & C., 1925-1930
  • Napoleone Martinuzzi, Lighting, Animals, installation view. Photo: Ettore Bellini. Courtesy: LE STANZE DEL VETRO
  • Elements of centrepiece in mixed glass and lattimo glass, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M.Venini & C., around 1930.
  • Aquarium in clear smoke-grey glass containing a blossomed branch in malachite glass, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M. Venini & C., around 1930
  • Napoleone Martinuzzi, Pulegosi, installation view. Photo: Ettore Bellini. Courtesy: LE STANZE DEL VETRO
  • Vases in cased glass and in mixed glass, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M. Venini & C., around 1930
  • Succulent plant in green bubble glass and in red blue cased glass, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M. Venini & C., 1929-1930
  • Vase and bowls in green and uncolored bubble glass, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M. Venini & C 1928-1930
  • Lizard in red glass paste and bird on a branch in green glass paste, Napoleone Martinuzzi for V.S.M.Venini & C., around 1930