Free and Spirited
The Neoclassical Designs of Gio Ponti
In the 1920s Gio Ponti revolutionized the production of Richard Ginori with ceramic pieces, as he describes “of vaguely neoclassical inspiration, with Etruscan suggestions, turned toward the modern with ironic elegance.” Finely executed, Ponti’s works for Richard Ginori were widely admired at the 1923 Biennale in Monza so much so that he was named artistic director for the company that same year. At the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris just two years later, Richard Ginori was awarded two grand prizes, one for Ponti and his ceramic designs.
"These pieces represent in modern production a solemnity not yet surpassed…Their taste heralds return to ornamental and collecting opportunities that did not exist when they appeared." – Gio Ponti"
The present lot is from a large series of works dedicated to the theme of game hunting or La Venatoria. This series is the last large collection created by Ponti for Richard Ginori but it is also the first collection to include forms that are not strictly ornamental in function; scenes from La Venatoria were found on vases, plates, lamp bases and bowls of various shapes and sizes. The specific scene depicted here is The Triumph of the Amazons, one side illustrates two women armed with bows and arrows presumably in successful pursuit of game and the other side shows a female with a horn atop a galloping horse with a happy dog at its side. The lyrical illustration of the narrative enlivens the classical spherical shape of the vase.
Ponti renewed artistic expression with a modern take on classical ornamentation and decoration, forms that had once been forgotten were newly found, architecture and lively figures graced his objects. Further, his works illustrated a collaboration of art and industry as his designs were increasing applied to functional forms and not just decorative objects. Under Ponti’s direction, Richard Ginori became widely acclaimed in Italy, recognized for their precision in design, study in detail and perfect execution. During his tenure at the firm and in the years following, Ponti would create more than 400 designs.