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  • Literature

    Franco Deboni, Venini Glass: Its History, Artists and Techniques, Volume 1, Turin, 2007, The Blue Catalogue (appendix), fig. 127

  • Catalogue Essay

    Electric Modernism

    The present sandblasted glass and metal ceiling light is an exceptional example of 1930s Muranese design, a ripple in the long wave of Art Deco taste which spread in Europe and overseas beginning with the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs held in Paris in 1925.

    This lamp involved the use of a patent—that of vetro ondulato (corrugated glass)—developed by Venini in the mid-1930s and published in the famous Catologo Blu (brev. 297787). Vetro ondulato was used for the long horizontal ceiling lights installed in public buildings such as the Stazione di Santa Maria Novella in Florence (1932-1935) designed by Giovanni Michelucci and the Tuscan Group, as well as smaller lights, such as those in the Palazzo delle Poste di Palermo by Angiolo Mazzoni (1929-1934).

    The end plates, also in glass, with U-shaped zigzag decoration echoing the corrugated glass, incorporate one of the most typical motifs of the Art Deco style. This motif would remain popular, even in Italy, for the better part of the 1920s and 1930s, adopted in the design vocabulary of the radical avant-garde, of the second Futurism and the modernist eclecticism practiced by the most brilliant architects of the era. The use of the zigzag motif was particularly distinctive in the work of Piero Portaluppi, who declared it a sort of lightning rod, a tribute to the hydroelectric power plants he designed.

    These more decorative and Art Deco-inspired objects were largely overlooked within prevalent narratives of Italian modernism until Italian designers began to revisit them in the 1970s and 1980s. The present ceiling light, and in particular its zigzag motifs, therefore feels very familiar to us because it recalls some of the most famous objects by Ettore Sottsass, Luca Scacchetti, and above all Alessandro Mendini.

    Roberto Dulio
    Professor, History of Architecture, Facoltà di Architettura of Politecnico di Milano

3

Rare "Ondulato" ceiling light, model no. 215

1931-1935
Ondulato glass, etched glass, brass, painted steel.
12 x 41 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (30.5 x 104.8 x 26 cm)
Produced by Venini & C., Murano, Italy.

Estimate
$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $20,000

Contact Specialist
Cordelia Lembo
Head of Department
+1 212 940 1265

Design

New York Auction 6 June 2018