Paolo Venini - Design New York Tuesday, December 13, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Robert Mapplethorpe, New York
    Christie's, New York, "The Robert Mapplethorpe Collection," October 31, 1989, lots 120, 127

  • Literature

    Helmut Ricke and Eva Schmitt, Italian Glass: Murano—Milan 1930-1970, The Collection of the Steinberg Foundation, Munich, 1997, p. 153
    Franco Deboni, Venini Glass: Its History, Artists and Techniques, Catalogue 1921-2007, vol. 1, Turin, 2007, The Red Catalogue (appendix), pp. 210-11, 216
    Franco Deboni, Venini Glass: Its History, Artists and Techniques, Catalogue 1921-2007, vol. 2, Turin, 2007, fig. 141
    Marino Barovier, ed., Paolo Venini e la sua fornace, exh. cat., Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Milan, 2016, pp. 241-42, 253, 260, 262, 266-67

  • Catalogue Essay

    The following five lots previously belonged to the iconic photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. A collector with wide-ranging interests within the decorative arts and design, he began collecting glass in the early 1980s and amassed a collection, primarily of Venini, which he displayed in a colorful rainbow formation on a shelf in his home. Belying the bold colors of the collection, Mapplethorpe would sometimes employ vases from his collection of glass and ceramics to photograph his black and white floral still lifes. A large number of works in his Venini collection were executed in inciso, a technique in which glass is wheel-carved with fine, horizontal lines. In Mapplethorpe’s photographs, the carved glass diffuses the light, lending a translucent, soft image of the flower stems contained within the vase, which contrasts with the clarity of the exposed blossoms.

    Shortly after Mapplethorpe’s untimely death at the age of 42 in 1989, his collection was sold at auction to benefit the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, supporting AIDS research as well as photography exhibitions and projects. The works shown here were purchased at this auction and have been held privately since, making their first appearance on the market in 27 years.

Property from a Manhattan Collection


Four vases and a decanter

Inciso glass.
Tallest: 18 in. (45.7 cm) high
Produced by Venini & C., Murano, Italy. Underside of three with acid-etched stamp, venini/murano/ITALIA. From left to right: a Paolo Venini decanter, two Paolo Venini vases, an unattributed vase, and a Paolo Venini bowl.

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $22,500

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


New York Auction 13 December 2016