Con Macchie

Abstract Artistry in Glass

The con Macchie series designed by Fulvio Bianconi represents a high point in post-war art glass design. Inspired by abstract painting, these pieces are a point of departure as they capture a moment in Murano glass history when the utility of a vessel was rendered secondary to its artistic merit alone. Like the paintings of Robert Motherwell, the con Macchie vases feature interlocking monochrome shapes and attain a similar level of visual abstraction. A small number of pieces in the series depict loosely rendered anthropomorphic figures or scenes in a similarly abstract manner. While there are drawings for individual models, each piece in this series was fabricated in a way that makes it unique. Bianconi’s genius for abstract design, along with the superb craftsmanship of Venini’s master blowers, makes this series aesthetically and artistically significant.

A drawing for this model depicting a master glassblower seated on a stool and holding a blow pipe by Fulvio Bianconi from the Venini archives. (Photograph courtesy of Marino Barovier)

Executed circa 1950, the vase represented here is one of the only known examples of this model. The imagery on the vase depicts Murano’s glassblowers at work. Rendered in a reduced, pictographic style, Bianconi’s talent as a caricaturist and cartoonist can be seen here. This vase was exhibited at the Stanze del Vetro exhibition of Bianconi’s work in 2015 at Fondazione Cini in Venice. It is prominently illustrated in the exhibition catalog, and is a fine example of Bianconi’s most influential and important work at Venini.

The present lot featured in the exhibition Fulvio Bianconi at Venini, curated by Marino Barovier and organized by Le Stanze del Vetro, Venice. (Photograph by Fabrizio Veronesi)

Fulvio Bianconi at Venini

Born in Padua in 1915, Fulvio Bianconi initially rose to prominence as an illustrator, graphic designer and caricaturist working for Italy’s top publishing companies during the 1930s. But it is perhaps his post-war collaboration with Paolo Venini which best defines his legacy as an artist.

On a business trip to Murano in 1947, Bianconi met with Paolo Venini who immediately recognized his talent and offered him a position as artistic director, a post which had recently been vacated by the celebrated architect Carlo Scarpa. Engaged on a free-lance basis, Bianconi’s arrangement with Venini was somewhat unusual but seemed to suit his idiosyncratic personality and artistic inclinations.

From the very beginning, Bianconi’s approach at Venini was entirely that of a fine artist, drawing inspiration from modern art, fashion and graphic design. As a cartoonist and caricaturist he was also able to re-envision cultural themes from Italy’s past and express them in a fresh, contemporary way. All of this was in fact encouraged by Venini, who seemed to have an innate understanding of Bianconi’s frenetic style and unique abilities.

From 1947 to 1950, Bianconi designed numerous series of sculptural objects and vessels including the Commedia dell’Art figures, Fazoletto (Handkerchief) vases, Pezzati (Patchwork) and con Macchie (Stained) vessels, all of which have all now become icons of post-war Italian design. Sometimes surreal, often abstract, these series captured the spirit of the times and expressed the essence of La Dolce Vita and the exuberance of post-war Italy. While Murano had been demonstrating an awareness of modern art since the early part of the century, it is only with Bianconi that it found itself on equal footing.

Working with Paolo Venini throughout the 1950s, Bianconi designed unique, modern art objects on a human-scale and for this Murano glass was the perfect vehicle. From this point of view, one could say that Bianconi was instrumental in the liberation of Murano glass from its own cultural and historical definitions.

Fulvio Bianconi 1915–1996

Born in Padua in 1915, Fulvio Bianconi initially rose to prominence as an illustrator, graphic designer and caricaturist working for Italy’s top companies during the 1930s. Designing for big names like Fiat, Pathé and Pirelli, Bianconi employed his passion for drawing as the creative mind behind one of Italy’s most prestigious publishing houses, Garzanti for over 30 years. However, it is perhaps his post-war collaboration with Paolo Venini and experimentation with glass which best defines his legacy as an artist.

Auction Results Fulvio Bianconi

FULVIO BIANCONI, Con Macchie vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Con Macchie vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $197,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, rare and important Sirena vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

rare and important Sirena vase
estimate: $40,000–60,000
result: $155,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, Important Con Macchie vase, model 4324 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Important Con Macchie vase, model 4324
estimate: $90,000–120,000
result: $149,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, Sirena vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Sirena vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $125,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, Marghuerite vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Marghuerite vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $112,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, Con Macchie vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Con Macchie vase
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $108,750

FULVIO BIANCONI, Important con Macchie vase, model 4427 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Important con Macchie vase, model 4427
estimate: $90,000–120,000
result: $102,400

FULVIO BIANCONI, Con Macchie vase, model 4325 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Con Macchie vase, model 4325
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $96,200

FULVIO BIANCONI, Con Macchia vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Con Macchia vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $68,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, Marghuerite vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Marghuerite vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $65,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, A Rete vase, model 4232 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

A Rete vase, model 4232
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $52,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, rare Fasce Verticale vase, model 4404 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

rare Fasce Verticale vase, model 4404
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $46,080

FULVIO BIANCONI, Con Macchia vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Con Macchia vase
estimate: $40,000–60,000
result: $43,750

FULVIO BIANCONI, Bikini vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Bikini vase
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $42,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, Teatrino vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Teatrino vase
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $42,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, Rare Pezzato vase, model 3541 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Rare Pezzato vase, model 3541
estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $41,600

FULVIO BIANCONI, Fasce Verticale bottle, model 4404 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Fasce Verticale bottle, model 4404
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $39,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, Bikini vase, model 4333 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Bikini vase, model 4333
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $39,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, Commedia dell'Arte figures, pair | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Commedia dell'Arte figures, pair
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $37,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, Monumental Fasce Orizzontali vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Monumental Fasce Orizzontali vase
estimate: $12,000–15,000
result: $35,000

FULVIO BIANCONI, Rare Pezzato Americano vase, model 3541 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Rare Pezzato Americano vase, model 3541
estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $32,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, rare Cappello del Mago vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

rare Cappello del Mago vase
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $32,500

FULVIO BIANCONI, Con Macchie vase | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Con Macchie vase
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $32,400

FULVIO BIANCONI, Corpo di Donna vase, model #4209 | Wright20.com

Fulvio Bianconi

Corpo di Donna vase, model #4209
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $27,600

Evaluation of Property

Use this form to submit images and details for items that you would like to consign to auction. Need helpful tips?

  • Please be as descriptive as possible including details about an items condition and history.
  • Where did you get the piece and does it have a special provenance?
  • Do you know any details regarding the edition, vintage, designer, or other particulars?
hide

Catalog Added to Cart

This catalog has been added to your cart. Please checkout or continue browsing.

Checkout