Design Masterworks 17 November 2016

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28

Piero Fornasetti


Corona di fiori mirror

Fornasetti Milano
Italy, c. 1955
lithographic transfer-printed lacquered wood with hand coloring, mirrored glass
18¾ dia x 1 d in (48 x 3 cm)

result: $5,625


estimate: $5,000–7,000

Signed with decal manufacturer's label to underside: [Fornasetti Milano Made in Italy]. This work has been reviewed by Barnaba Fornasetti.

provenance: Private Collection, Como, Italy | Private Collection
literature: Fornasetti: The Complete Universe, Fornasetti et al., pg. 300, fig. 49

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Piero Fornasetti

1913–1988

Piero Fornasetti was born in Milan in 1913 and he grew up with an insatiable desire to draw anything and everything. He won a seat at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, but was promptly expelled; his creative spirit did not match the harsh discipline of the academy. He forayed into the realm of fashion and began designing silk scarves with his soon-to-be signature motifs of roman ruins, suns, and flowers. In his furniture designs, Fornasetti worked in an incredible range of materials to create a dizzying array of decorative arts imbued with both wit and theatricality. Struck with the beauty of the famed Italian opera star Lina Cavalieri, Fornasetti created an entire series called “Themes and Variations” with more than 300 versions of Cavalieri’s face. With tongue in cheek irony, Fornasetti depicted Cavalieri in a variety of guises ranging from the humorous to the surreal. In 1959, Fornasetti won the Neiman Marcus award for his significant contributions to the field of fashion, joining the ranks of Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel. Fornasetti died in 1988, leaving behind thousands of imaginative designs and forever changing the field of Italian decorative arts.

The canons and orders taught me rigor, a love of symmetry and balance, and—if it can be said in these times of such barbarous return to barbarity— a love of harmony. I merely repurposed them in simple and clear structures, wedding decoration to form.

—Piero Fornasetti