Italian glassmaker Toni Zuccheri holds a unique place in the history of Murano glass for his imaginative and experimental collection of sculptural birds. Wright celebrates Zuccheri's artistic accomplishments holding a 95% sell-through rate for his work.
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Three Things to Know About Toni Zuccheri
Toni Zuccheri’s father, the painter Luigi Zuccheri, instilled a passion for animals in the artist which became a reoccurring theme throughout his body of work.
Alongside Gio Ponti in the early 1960s he developed Vetro Grosso, a new type of glass created from dense vitreous pastes combined with murrine, raw pigment, shards of Filigrana canes and fine wire mesh.
Zuccheri first presented a group of birds at the 1964 Venice Biennale.
A change took place in him, a process of synthesis…almost as if he had succeeded in transcending glass, or at least freeing himself from the powerful and wonderful limitations of its transparency.
Taddeo Zuccheri, Toni’s Son
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Toni Zuccheri 1937–2008
Born in 1936 in San Vito al Taglimento, Toni Zuccheri was the son of renowned Italian metaphysical painter Luigi Zuccheri whose work was focused predominantly on the depiction of fantastic animals and birds. From an early age Toni demonstrated an innate capacity for drawing and possessed a great sensitivity toward nature and animals, birds in particular.
A few years after moving to Venice with his family in 1945, he enrolled in the Academy of Architecture and studied under Franco Albini, Ignazio Gardella, Carlo Scarpa and others. In the early 1960s he began to study and work at Venini where, in collaboration with Gio Ponti, he engaged in intensive experimentation with glass; the culmination was the development of Vetro Grosso, a new type of glass created from dense vitreous pastes combined with murrine, raw pigment, shards of Filigrana canes and fine wire mesh.
The first objects produced by Zuccheri at Venini were, unsurprisingly, sculptures of fantastic birds—owls, turkeys, guineafowl, hoopoes and others—all rendered in sophisticated polychrome murrine and experimental glass pastes. Mounted on realistic bronze legs, the first group of these was presented at the Venice Biennale of 1964 and met with great success. Both expensive and difficult to make, these birds, like much of Zuccheri’s work for Venini, were presented as virtuoso sculpture and were proudly displayed by Venini in their shop windows and presented at important Italian and international exhibitions. Over the next four decades Zuccheri would continue to create sculptures of birds, both for Venini in glass and, later in life, as one-off sculptures made from of a wide variety of materials.
Today, taken either as fine art or as high design, Zuccheri’s birds for Venini occupy a unique place in the history of Murano glass; grotesque and beautiful, realistic and highly imaginative, experimental and vastly accomplished, the sculptural birds of Toni Zuccheri for Venini are works of artistic genius.