Napoleone Martinuzzi’s ten-handled Pulegoso vase, made at the Venini Glassworks where he served as artistic director from 1925 to 1932, is probably the most recognizable and iconic object made on the island of Murano in the 20th century. The fact that only four other examples are known makes its presentation here even more significant.
First exhibited at the Biennale of 1928, this vase challanged the idea of what Murano glass could be. Primarily known for its lightness and transparency
Both modern and ancient, sober and extravagant, this vase set the tone for Italian Novocento.Murano glass was now liberated from its own historical limitations and could be heavy, opaque, sculptural and inventive, while at the same time possess the refined power of classical antiquity. Both modern and ancient, sober and extravagant, this vase set the tone for Italian Novocento of the 1920s and 1930s, and was roundly celebrated by critics of the day.
Of the five known examples of this vase two are in private ownership—one is in an important Swiss collection and the other is in the Olnick Spanu collection, New York. Two examples reside in permanent museum collections—one in the Vittoriale Museum near Lake Garda, Italy which was given by Martinuzzi to the poet Gabriele d’Annunzio, and the other was recently bequeathed to the Ca’ Pesaro Museum in Venice by the renowned collectors Francesco and Chiara Carraro. The fifth example, presented here, first came to public attention in 1990 when it was offered at the historic Sotheby’s sale of Murano glass in Geneva, Switzerland. Since that time it has resided in an important private collection in Monte Carlo.