a Murrine plate, model 4881Venini
Italy, c. 1960
fused murrines with wheel-carved surface
9¼ w x 5¼ d x 2 h in (23 x 13 x 5 cm)
Signed with applied foil manufacturer's label to underside: [Venini S.A. Murano].literature: Venini Glass: Catalogue 1921-2007, Deboni, pl. 169 illustrates similar example
Venini Murrine Vessels of the Post-War Period
Inspired by Carlo Scarpa’s use of Murrine glass in the early 1940s, Paolo Venini designed a number of vessels in the 50s that have become icons of post war design. Using sober, minimal forms Venini experimented with numerous combinations of tightly packed micro-murrines and used them to achieve an overall visual effect not unlike finely woven fabrics or the intricate patterns found on birds, insects and sea life. Most of these pieces were produced in very limited numbers due to the high cost and difficulty of their production.
After Paolo Venini’s death in 1959 several plates and bowls composed of murines in vivid, sometimes contrasting colors were produced after his earlier designs. Many of these pieces also have subtle but very intensely carved and shaped surfaces that are marvels of technical acumen.
In the 1960s, Venini’s new art director, Ludivico Diaz de Santillana, along with Tobia Scarpa (and perhaps others) designed similar models. With this in mind, assigning authorship to many of these pieces is quite difficult. However their beauty, rarity, technical virtuosity and obvious visual relationship to the best abstract painting of the period uphold their status as masterworks.