Gio Ponti - Design Evening Sale New York Tuesday, December 13, 2016 | Phillips
  • Exhibited

    "Italian Design Beyond the Crisis: Autarky, Austerity, Autonomy," Triennale Design Museum, Milan, April 4, 2014-February 22, 2015

  • Literature

    "Un palazzo del lavoro," Domus, no. 135, March 1939, p. 38
    "L'alluminio entra in casa," Domus, no. 231, December 1948, p. 43
    Beppe Finessi, ed., Italian Design Beyond the Crisis: Autarky, Austerity, Autonomy, exh. cat., Triennale Design Museum, Milan, 2014, p. 92 for a drawing, illustrated p. 93

  • Catalogue Essay

    In 1935 Guido Donegani commissioned Gio Ponti to build the new headquarters for Montecatini, a company that manufactured aluminum and marble. Built between 1936 and 1938, the Rationalist structure was a testament to international modernist ideology at a time during which Italy endured sanctions on foreign trade and a related return to traditionalist values. As described in the catalogue for the exhibition "Italian Design Beyond the Crisis: Autarky, Austerity, Autonomy," the building became “a promotional manifesto intended to celebrate Italian superiority…”

    Like many of Palazzo Montecatini’s other furnishings and functional elements, the present pair of wall lights are made of "anticorodal" aluminum. Their austere form resembles a neoclassical interpretation of the wall lights that Le Corbusier used throughout his career from the 1930s onward. Similarly, they made up part of a thoroughly unified scheme of interior furnishings and lighting that were manufactured in a standardized modern manner. Placed throughout the hallways at regular intervals, they became a functional element alongside doors, interior windows and air vents.

  • Artist Biography

    Gio Ponti

    Italian • 1891 - 1979

    Among the most prolific talents to grace twentieth-century design, Gio Ponti defied categorization. Though trained as an architect, he made major contributions to the decorative arts, designing in such disparate materials as ceramics, glass, wood and metal. A gale force of interdisciplinary creativity, Ponti embraced new materials like plastic and aluminum but employed traditional materials such as marble and wood in original, unconventional ways.

    In the industrial realm, he designed buildings, cars, machinery and appliances — notably, the La Cornuta espresso machine for La Pavoni — and founded the ADI (Industrial Designer Association). Among the most special works by Gio Ponti are those that he made in collaboration with master craftsmen such as the cabinetmaker Giordano Chiesa, the illustrator Piero Fornasetti and the enamellist Paolo de Poli.

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Rare and early pair of wall lights, from Palazzo Montecatini, Milan

Painted "anticorodal" aluminum.
Each: 5 x 21 3/4 x 7 in. (12.7 x 55.2 x 17.8 cm)

$18,000 - 22,000 

Contact Specialist
Cordelia Lembo
Specialist, Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1265

Design Evening Sale

New York Auction 13 December 2016