Experimental Glass Design

The present lot illustrated in a period photo from the Barovier & Toso archives, c. 1930. (Photograph courtesy of Marino Barovier)

Produced for the Venice Biennale of 1930, Primavera was a radical departure from all that came before it. The series included vases, bowls, lidded vessels, candlesticks and sculptures, all executed in an experimental, milky white glass composed of webs of tiny bubbles and thread-like craquelures. The startling appearance of the glass was made even more dramatic by the addition of contrasting details in deep amethyst and cobalt blue. Due to the complex and experimental nature of the glass, it was never reproduced and is, therefore, extremely rare. Primavera was alsothe first in a series of daring and experimental designs by Ercole Barovierthat would prove to be both critically and commercially successful.

Ercole Barovier

The nearly fifty year tenure of Ercole Barovier as artistic director, designer and owner of Barovier & Toso is unprecedented in the history of Murano glass, and the firm’s success stands as a testament to his singular artistic talent and entrepreneurial genius.

Born in 1889 to a Muranese family that could trace its origins back to the 13th century, Barovier did not train as a glassblower but had a great passion for glass and quickly distinguished himself as an innovative designer. He joined Artisti Barovier in 1919 at the age of thirty and found success designing vases in the mosaic technique. In 1930 he produced the critically acclaimed and award-winning Primavera series, the success of which encouraged him to continue his experiments.

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Auction Results Ercole Barovier