Distinctive Patterning

Inspired by the Venetian harlequin motif, the Intarsio series is an internationally recognized icon of 1960s art glass. Due to its popularity, a wide variety of color combinations and shapes were produced, each a distinctive arrangement of triangular glass tessere. The vase presented here is one of only five examples known to exist in this shape and size, and each exhibit a unique color combination.

Period photo from 1967 of a similar example featuring red and blue tessere. (Photograph by Ferruzzi. Reproduced from I Vetri di Murano by Carlo Bestetti, 1967, Edizioni D’Arte)

…the main source of inspiration is the furnace: the artist must stand side by side with the glass-maker, whose task is to carry out a faithful reproduction and interpretation not just of the sketch, but of the designer’s very soul. The designer must be in spiritual communion with the glass-maker and follow with care his execution of the object, correcting him if necessary. At times the object produced is set aside, thrown away, because one feels that it is imperfect. If the desired result is not achieved through one path, then another must be undertaken. At long last, the art glass piece is accomplished. How many models of new glass objects have I produced in my forty years of activity? The answer astonishes even me: thousands, each of which bears the traces of a part of my life and of my soul.

—Ercole Barovier

Ercole Barovier 1889–1974

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