Flavio Poli and Seguso Vetri d’Arte
Looking over the vast production of Seguso Vetri d’Art during the post-war years, one is immediately able to recognize different levels of quality in terms of design.
From the typical array of Murano tableware, lamp-bases and figurines to elegant, highly refined sculptural objets d’arte, artistic director Flavio Poli seemed to be able to cater to every level of taste.
This adaptability makes sense when one considers the dire economic situation of Europe in the post war years when Murano’s glassmakers were desperate to re-establish contact with international markets.
Beginning around 1950, Poli’s experimentation with Sommerso glass led to the celebrated Valva series; a group of vessels based on abstract representations of sea life. The rarefied gem-tone colors and sober forms of these pieces were achieved through extensive cutting and polishing which made them extremely expensive to produce, hence their rarity today.
Throughout the 50s and 60s Flavio Poli’s Sommerso vessels received international recognition and acclaim as superior examples of 20th century Murano art glass design and craftsmanship. The Valva and Sommerso vases in the Primavera Collection represent Poli’s genius at its best.
Flavio Poli 1900–1984
Born in Chioggia, Italy, Flavio Poli studied at the Istituto d'Arte di Venezia as a ceramicist. In 1929 he began working as a glass artist at the Industrie Vetraie Artistiche Murano or IVAM glass factory where he designed mostly sculptural pieces. In 1934 he joined the firm Barovier Seguso Ferro and became artistic director and a partner in the company after just three years. In the 1950s he began experimenting with Sommerso glass, a technique achieved by overlapping different layers of glass in a variety of colors and thicknesses. The resulting pieces received international recognition as superior examples of 20th century Murano art glass and Poli was awarded the Compasso d'Oro prize in 1954. At the height of his career, Poli won five Grand Prix awards at various Milan Triennales and his designs were exhibited in numerous editions of the Venice Biennale. Poli left Seguso in 1963 to form a division of the Società Veneziana di Conterie e Cristallerie. He died in Venice in 1984 and his works can be found in numerous public and private collections around the world including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Murano Glass Museum, Venice and the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia.
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