Collaboration and Culture
Tomaso Buzzi at Venini
On occasion, we find spectacular pieces of Venini glass which are made of materials associated with one designer, but are executed in the form of another. The present lot is a prime example of this—a Napoleone Martinuzzi shape executed in Tomaso Buzzi’s exquisite Laguna glass. Pieces such as this represent an interesting aspect of Venini's production, but often make it difficult to ascribe precise authorship.
It is important to remember that while today we think of Venini as a company composed of brilliant designers, each adding their own unique works to the Venini oeuvre, this is a somewhat revisionist convention that we impose upon the history of the firm. Thinking of Venini as a culture reverses this, and is perhaps closer to the actual truth.
The fact that Paolo Venini hired numerous designers and encouraged them to create new works is one important aspect of Venini culture. Equally important is the fact that designers were allowed to appropriate models from previous designers, either altering them slightly, or using the shape of an earlier vessel to express a new technique of their own invention. This collaborative culture produced an astonishing variety of artistic glass, glass that continues to inspire scholars, collectors and artists the world over.This in turn created a distinct vocabulary of interrelated forms unique to Venini. In the end this collaborative culture produced an astonishing variety of artistic glass, glass that continues to inspire scholars, collectors and artists the world over.
So how does one ascribe authorship to a vase like the one presented here? As the technique was developed by Buzzi in 1932, and therefore did not exist when the shape was designed by Martinuzzi in 1927, we can say Buzzi is the author of this piece. But in the end perhaps authenticity, rarity and beauty add more to the value of this piece than authorship alone.