Gino Sarfatti - Design New York Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Phillips
  • Gino Sarfatti combined his talents as a designer and entrepreneur when he established the lighting firm Arteluce in 1939. Compounding “Art” and “Light,” the firm’s name hinted at Sarfatti’s artistic solution to an otherwise technical problem. He led the company for over thirty years, creating over 600 lighting designs. His works oftentimes upended conventions in lighting design by exploiting both the material and immaterial possibilities of light, considering not only the physical materials at hand but also the effect of light reflection and direction.


    The present model ceiling light, as seen in an advertisement for Arteluce, 1940.

    The present ceiling lamp, designed circa 1940 and presented at the VII Triennale in Milan, exemplifies the artistic and technical brilliance of Sarfatti’s earliest works. The ceiling light’s electrical cords form the hanging canopy while twelve exposed bulbs and their sockets line the perimeter of the suspended metal band. Rather than diffuse any light emission, the bulb itself becomes part of the ceiling light’s form—a truly modern idea that illustrates why Sarfatti is now considered one of the leading figures in twentieth-century lighting design.  

    • Literature

      Domus, no. 149, May 1940, p. 97
      "Una serie ingegnosa e pratica di apparecchi di illuminazione," Domus, no. 151, July 1940, p. 89
      Marco Romanelli and Sandra Severi, Gino Sarfatti: Selected Works 1938-1973, Milan, 2012, p. 460
      Gino Sarfatti: Designing Light, exh. cat., Triennale Design Museum, Milan, 2012, p. 36

    • Artist Biography

      Gino Sarfatti

      Italian • 1912 - 1985

      Rising above the devastation of World War II, post-war Italian design reached new heights of productivity and ingenuity, particularly in the realm of lighting. Gino Sarfatti is among the most celebrated lighting designers from this fruitful period. Before founding his company Arteluce in 1939, Sarfatti studied aeronautical engineering. He brought the inventiveness of a self-taught outsider to the field of lighting design, while his mechanical background lent lightness and ingenuity of construction. Poetic underpinnings are also evident in lamps such as model no. 1034 (sometimes referred to as the "Vine" lamp), which features a nearly 8' twisting brass stem graced with nine delicate, articulating white shades like buds on a flower.

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Rare ceiling light, model no. S 00106

circa 1940
Brass, painted brass.
17 in. (43.2 cm) drop, 34 in. (86.4 cm) diameter
Manufactured by Arteluce, Milan, Italy.

Full Cataloguing

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $88,200

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New York Auction 7 December 2021