Gio Ponti - Design London Friday, June 19, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, Rome, circa 1930
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Loris Manna, Gio Ponti: Le Maioliche, Milan, 2000, pp. 226-27 for a plate with the same design

  • Catalogue Essay

    Phillips wishes to thank Dott.ssa Oliva Rucellai for her assistance cataloguing the present lot.

    The spherical form of the present vase designed by Gio Ponti corresponds to the shape of vase, model number 1151, illustrated in the 1930 Richard-Ginori catalogue Ceramiche moderne d'arte. The present example is distinguished by its vividly coloured design entitled ‘Pontesca’. Featuring an ochre yellow painted composition of allegorical motifs—including keys, arrows, hands, pierced hearts, headless figures and winged busts—against a cobalt blue background, Ponti first presented this design on a large plate, model no. 381, at the 1930 Monza Triennale. This plate is now part of the collection of the Museo Richard-Ginori in Sesto Fiorentino. Ponti translated the ‘Pontesca’ decoration from the plate to the curved surface of the vase with minimal variation, apart from the addition of a second winged figure—the only exception to the principle of non-repetition that informs Ponti’s fantastical composition. The ‘Pontesca’ vase is thought to be unique as no other examples or archival sources are known.

  • 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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Unique 'Pontesca' vase

circa 1930
Glazed earthenware.
35 cm (13 3/4 in.) high
Produced by Richard-Ginori, Doccia, Italy. Underside painted Richard/Ginori under the glaze and enamelled 1151.

£15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for £26,250

Contact Specialist

Madalena Horta E Costa
Head of Sale, Associate Specialist
+44 20 7318 4019


London Auction 19 June 2020