A Tribute to Martinuzzi

Alfredo Barbini for Pauly & C.

This rare Sirena figure demonstrates the high level of artistic expression and technical virtuosity for which Alfredo Barbini has become famous.

This Sirena figure, and a number of similar pieces, are often believed to have been designed in the 1930s by Napoleone Martinuzzi and executed at his firm, Zecchin-Martinuzzi.  They were, in fact, designed and executed by master blower Alfredo Barbini at his own furnace in the 1970s.  However this confusion is understandable as Barbini was both inspired by, and collaborated with Martinuzzi for much of his lifetime.

We now understand that these pieces were commissioned by Pauly & C. in the 1970s. Made in very limited numbers, these figures were certainly a tribute to Martunizzi, and possibly even a literal collaboration as many of them are signed Barbini and Martinuzzi , though this may have simply been Barbini’s way of paying tribute to the source of his inspiration. 

In the end, this rare Sirena figure demonstrates the high level of artistic expression and technical virtuosity for which Alfredo Barbini has become famous. Executed in blood-red pasta di vetro glass, the Sirena is whimsical and yet lacks all sentimentality; instead it possesses a brutal, seductive quality worthy of the sirens of classical antiquity.