Among the most rare and complex techniques designed by Paolo Venini in the 1950s, Mosaico Tessuto vessels have become some of the most desirable. Inspired by fabric design, the Mosaico Tessuti (literally, mosaic of fabric) demonstrate Paolo Venini’s ability to achieve dynamic visual effects by reimagining earlier Venetian stylistic conventions.

Venini’s choice to construct vessels in minimal forms composed of glass tesserae arranged in crisscross patterns speaks to his knowledge of contemporary art and design. It should also be noted that these Mosaico Tessuto vessels would not have been possible without the highest level of technical craftsmanship. Paolo Venini’s unique relationship with his designers and master craftsmen created an environment in which new glass forms and techniques seemed to evolve and appear almost organically from the Venini furnaces.

Designed at the height of his creative powers, the Mosaico Tessuto vases can rightly be considered among the greatest achievements in Paolo Venini’s fertile life as a glass designer.

Period photograph from the Venice Biennale, 1954

Paolo Venini 1895–1959

Paolo Venini was born in Cusano, Italy on January 12, 1895 to a middle class Lombard family. As a young man he studied law in Milan. During the first war he was stationed near Venice where he became fascinated with the glass mosaics and stained glass of St. Mark’s cathedral. After the war he began a law practice but soon came under the influence of Venetian art and antiquities dealer Giacomo Cappellin who convinced the young Venini to join him as a business partner in a new Murano glass enterprise in 1921. Since then it has become almost impossible to discuss the life of Paolo Venini as separate from his company—all the available biographical material about him lacks personal detail and inevitably lists towards the celebrated history of the company. Venini’s biography is, therefore, the story of a man whose literal personality has been subsumed by his professional life and persona.

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Auction Results Paolo Venini