Designer: Carlo Scarpa

Carlos Scarpa is one of the most innovative architects of the 20th century. His genius is in his ability to combine time-honored techniques and forms with his modern sensibility to create sophisticated architecture and furniture as well as masterworks in glass. Scarpa’s glass work routinely features prominently in our Important Italian Glass auctions and since our founding, Scarpa has brought in nearly $2 million in sales.

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Rare Inciso Velato vase
$92,500

The Sophisticated Glass of Carlo Scarpa

Carlo Scarpa’s designs are a tour-de-force of experimental art glass. Seamlessly integrating essential forms from classical antiquity and ancient Chinese art with traditional Murano craftsmanship and modernist art conventions, Scarpa created a diverse body of work with lasting influence. For more than 20 years, starting first at MVM Cappellin before enjoying a long tenure with Venini, Scarpa expanded the boundaries of Venetian glassblowing; he pioneered several techniques including the distinctive Bollicine, which refers to tiny bubbles trapped in the glass creating a delicate opacity of light and color and mezza filigrana which is a thin glass decorated with internal swirling lines and applied bold colors, both transparent and opaque, to traditional forms; he explored texture and surface with his Battuto series, dappled forms expertly carved to mimic the surface of beaten metal, becoming one of the hallmarks of Scarpa's designs. All in all, Scarpa’s influence modernized the vernacular of Murano glass.   

Carlo Scarpa: Architecture and Japan

Throughout his life, Carlo Scarpa would draw on his deep love of Japanese culture and tradition to design architecture. His work reflects the influence of the understated minimalism of Japan, known as shibui, which is the concept of an elegant, yet restrained aesthetic marked by high-quality workmanship and materials. Scarpa was known for paying as much attention to the minute elements of his buildings as he did to the overall design, and he was known to use meticulously hand-crafted screws and hinges in his architecture. Mixing the local design of his native Venice with the organic materials and graceful lines of Japanese buildings, Scarpa’s work reflects a harmony between the two cultures. Scarpa died in Japan in 1978 after a fatal fall down a set of stairs. However, Scarpa’s love of Japan lives on in his architectural masterpieces like the Brion Cemetery and his renovation of the Castelvecchio Museum in Verona, Italy.

Brion Tomb, 1969–1978.  Photo by seier+seier

Architectural Commissions

Carlo Scarpa 1906–1978

Carlo Scarpa was born in Venice in 1906, and died an accidental death in Japan in 1978. Like many great artists, Scarpa’s work as architect and designer is highly influential and yet remains enigmatic, illusive and hard to categorize. What is obvious in all his work is an underlying transcendental quality, an uncanny ability to create powerful emotional states in all who experience it. It is perhaps this quality that makes him one of the most beloved and revered figures in the history of 20th century Italian art and design.

Scarpa’s various biographers often point to his sensitivity to materials and his ability to evoke the past, but nothing about Scarpa is easy to define. In 1919 he enrolled in the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and graduated in 1926 with the title of Professor of Architecture. He did not, however, sit the pro forma exam required by the Italian government, and hence was never fully licensed as an architect.

A master of blending ancient and modern materials, forms and sensibilities, Scarpa completed over sixty architectural projects for museums in his lifetime. His agile use of precious, humble and industrial materials in order to elegantly frame historical fragments and artifacts is perhaps his greatest architectural achievement. His devotion to restoration and preservation also seem to suggest a belief that the true vocation of any architect is to quietly re-frame history, to convey a sense of both past and present, uniting them in full knowledge that the future is unwritten.

Scarpa’s work as a glass designer is equally poetic and ambitious. Working for both MVM Cappellin and Venini he produced hundreds of models, all of which are now considered masterworks. Drawing inspiration from ancient Chinese and Japanese vessels, Scarpa was able to express the best aspects of Murano glass craftsmanship in reduced modernist forms. Even the titles of his series hint at the elemental power of his work: Bollicine, Transparente, Granulare, Iridato, Inciso, Batutto, Vellato, Fasce, Pennellate (Bubbly, Transparent, Grainy, Iridized, Incised, Beaten, Veiled, Banded, Brushstrokes).

Carlo Scarpa’s death itself was poetic. He died from injuries after falling down a flight of concrete steps that he himself had designed in Sendai, Japan. However his death was not immediate—he lived for ten days. While unable to speak, it is said that he could write, but only backwards, and that he spent his last days creating tiny illustrated books for his friends. In the end he was buried in the standing position, wrapped in white muslin, in a quiet corner of the Brion-Vega Cemetery in San Vito d’Altivole, widely considered to be his ultimate architectural masterpiece.

Auction Results Carlo Scarpa

Carlo Scarpa

Rare Inciso Velato vase, model 3791
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $92,500

Carlo Scarpa

Rilievi vase, model 3659
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $81,700

Carlo Scarpa

Pennellate vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $74,500

Carlo Scarpa

Rare Pennellate vase, model 3788
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $70,000

Carlo Scarpa

Lattimo Oro vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $62,500

Carlo Scarpa

A Fasce Verticale vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $52,500

Carlo Scarpa

Important A Murrine Opache plate
estimate: $40,000–60,000
result: $52,500

Carlo Scarpa

Important Sommerso a Bollicine vase, model 3527
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $50,000

Carlo Scarpa

A Fili vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $41,250

Carlo Scarpa

Bollicine vase, model 11016
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $40,960

Carlo Scarpa

A Bugne vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $40,640

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto floor lamp
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $39,600

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase, model 3908
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $35,000

Carlo Scarpa

Cinese/Iridato vase, model 3932
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $33,750

Carlo Scarpa

Rare A Fiori Murrine vase, model 5943
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $32,500

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase, model 3781
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $32,500

Carlo Scarpa

A Bugne vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $30,000

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase, model 3781
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $30,000

Carlo Scarpa

A Bugne vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $27,940

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $27,500

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $27,500

Carlo Scarpa

Incamiciato vase
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $25,000

Carlo Scarpa

Rare Fenicio vase, model 5783
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $25,000

Carlo Scarpa

Decoro Fenicio vase, model 6446
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $23,750

Carlo Scarpa

Bollicine lamp base, model 11001
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $23,750

Carlo Scarpa

Corrosi vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $22,800

Carlo Scarpa

chandelier, model 5283
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $22,500

Carlo Scarpa

Incamiciato vase
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $22,500

Carlo Scarpa

Rare and Important vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $21,250

Carlo Scarpa

Sommerso a Bollicine vase, model 3526
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $21,250

Carlo Scarpa

Transparenti vase
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $20,480

Carlo Scarpa

Tessuto vase, model 3900
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $20,000

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase, model 3909
estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $18,750

Carlo Scarpa

A Murrine plate
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $18,750

Carlo Scarpa

chandelier, model 5417
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $18,750

Carlo Scarpa

Rigadin Retorto, model #9034, pair
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $18,000

Carlo Scarpa

Bollicine floor lamp
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $18,000

Carlo Scarpa

Mezza Filigrana vase, model 1886
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $17,500

Carlo Scarpa

sconces model 425, pair
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $17,500

Carlo Scarpa

A Bugne vase
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $17,500

Carlo Scarpa

Important Millefiori bowl
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $16,510

Carlo Scarpa

mirror
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $15,600

Carlo Scarpa

perfume bottles model 651A, pair
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $15,000

Carlo Scarpa

Mezza Filigrana chandelier, model 5417
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $15,000

Carlo Scarpa

Sommerso a Bollicine vase
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $14,400

Carlo Scarpa

Tessuto vase
estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $14,400

Carlo Scarpa

chandelier, model 53223 A6
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $13,750

Carlo Scarpa

A Bugne vase, model 4116
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $13,750

Carlo Scarpa

Tagliato Tondo vase
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $13,750

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase, model 3943A
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $12,500

Carlo Scarpa

Bollicine vase, model 3540
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $12,500

Carlo Scarpa

A Bugne vase
estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $12,065

Carlo Scarpa

A Bugne vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $12,065

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto vase
estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $11,250

Carlo Scarpa

Battuto bowl, model 2938
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $11,250

Carlo Scarpa

Iridato vase, model 3781
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $11,250

Carlo Scarpa

sconce
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $10,625

Carlo Scarpa

Cinesi vase, model 3578
estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $10,000

Carlo Scarpa

Inciso vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $10,000

Carlo Scarpa

Fenici vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000

Carlo Scarpa

Fenici vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $10,000

Carlo Scarpa

Transparenti vase
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $9,375

Carlo Scarpa

sconce
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $9,375

Carlo Scarpa

A Spirale vase, model 3507
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $9,375

Carlo Scarpa

dining chairs, set of four
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $9,000

Carlo Scarpa

Mezza Filigrana vase, model 1593A
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,750

Carlo Scarpa

A Fasce Verticale vase
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,750

Carlo Scarpa

A Fasce Verticale vase
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,750

Carlo Scarpa

A Fasce Verticale vase
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,750

Carlo Scarpa

Battutto vase, model 3595
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $8,750

Carlo Scarpa

Bollicine vase, model 11011
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,288

Carlo Scarpa

Reticello bowl
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $8,125

Carlo Scarpa

Conchiglie Variegato
estimate: $8,000–12,000
result: $8,050

Carlo Scarpa

Tessuto vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $7,800

Carlo Scarpa

sconces, pair
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $7,500

Carlo Scarpa

Reticello chandelier
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $6,875

Carlo Scarpa

Bollicine bowl, model 4118
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $6,875

Carlo Scarpa

Mezza Filigrana vase, model 3516
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $6,875

Carlo Scarpa

large Corroso bowl, model 4102
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $6,875

Carlo Scarpa

Sommerso a Bollicine bowl, model 3522
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $6,875

Carlo Scarpa

Tessuto vase, model 3917
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $6,250

Carlo Scarpa

Sommerso a Bollicine bowl, model 3522
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $6,250

Carlo Scarpa

sconces model 482, pair
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $6,250

Carlo Scarpa

Tessuto vase
estimate: $8,000–12,000
result: $6,250

Carlo Scarpa

Rare Bollicine vase, model 11009
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $5,938

Carlo Scarpa

pitcher
estimate: $3,000–4,000
result: $5,700

Carlo Scarpa

Pasta Vitrea vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $5,625

Carlo Scarpa

Tessuto vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $5,625

Carlo Scarpa

Sommerso a Bollicine vase, model 11009
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $5,625

Carlo Scarpa

vase, model 3910
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $5,398

Carlo Scarpa

bottle
estimate: $300–400
result: $5,100

Carlo Scarpa

Metalaforme vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $5,000

Carlo Scarpa

Corroso vase, model 4105
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $5,000

Carlo Scarpa

Corroso bowl
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $5,000

Carlo Scarpa

pitcher
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $4,800

Carlo Scarpa

Tessuto vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $4,688

Carlo Scarpa

collection of nine bowls
estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $4,375

Carlo Scarpa

table mirror, model 76
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $4,375

Carlo Scarpa

Sommerso a Bollicine vase, model 3534
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $4,063

Carlo Scarpa

Mezza Filigrana vase
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $3,998

If you would like to learn more about a work by Carlo Scarpa in your collection, contact our specialists today!  

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