1921 – 2021 ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF ART, BEAUTY AND ITALIAN CRAFTSMANSHIP
“In the course of these one hundred years of history and passion, VENINI has preserved and interpreted a unique artistic heritage that has its origins in the 13th-century Venetian culture, creating distinctive works that combine the profound knowledge of tradition with the allure of contemporary tastes.
This brand of excellence has recently become a part of the Gruppo DAMIANI, which through its creations promotes at an international level the core values of Italian craftsmanship, Beauty, and Know-How. I am pleased to celebrate this important anniversary together with VENINI: it is a milestone that opens the door to a new century of art and design, innovation, and the cutting edge of creativity”.
President of VENINI and Vice President of Gruppo DAMIANI
This year marks the centennial of the historic glassworks, founded by the Milanese lawyer Paolo Venini and the Venetian antiques dealer Giacomo Cappellin, and known worldwide for the excellence of its creations.
Since its foundation, the master glassmakers have always been the heart and soul of the glassworks, the guardians of its memory, its core strength: there are no schools in the world of glassmaking, only teachings handed down by word of mouth, gestures, and movements. These noble craftsmen dedicate much of their lives to the glass art, perfecting their skills and know-how: the techniques they use express the rational backbone of their work, the set of rules that make it possible to transform an idea or a drawing into reality.
In the course of these hundred years of history, VENINI has been able to set this millenary heritage in dialogue with the creative genius of renowned artists and designers such as Vittorio Zecchin, Napoleone Martinuzzi, Tomaso Buzzi, Tyra Lungren, Carlo Scarpa, Gio Ponti, Paolo Venini, Fulvio Bianconi, Tapio Wirkkala, Timo Sarpaneva, Thomas Stearns, Ludovico and Alessandro Diaz and Laura De Santillana, Tobia Scarpa, Benjamin Moore, Dan Dailey, Toots Zinsky, Toni Zuccheri, Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass, Mimmo Rotella, Alessandro Mendini, Monica Guggisberg and Philip Baldwin, Emmanuel Babled, Doriana and Massimiliano Fuksas, Cini Boeri, Rodolfo Dordoni, Giorgio Vigna, Tadao Ando, Fernando and Humberto Campana, Flo Perkins, Fabio Novembre, Michela Cattai, Mario Bellini, Studio Job, Barber & Osgerby, Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture, Ron Arad and Peter Marino to name just a few. These meetings of excellence have yielded an artistic production particularly rich in the style, forms, and expressive languages appreciated by collectors the world over, design enthusiasts and lovers of all things beautiful..
From the Glassworks to the VENINI MUSEUM. The historical archive, located in Murano, in the company’s historic home, is made up of more than 45,000 original drawings, 10,000 vintage photos featuring architectural installations and past exhibitions, as well as events and personalities who collaborated with the company, and over 5,000 works, including some very rare artists’ proofs, often loaned along with the drawings to major international exhibitions and \shows? trade fairs?
In fact, VENINI creations have contributed to the history of the evolution of Art and Contemporary Design: many iconic works have entered the collections of prestigious museums, including the Metropolitan and MOMA in New York, the Fondation Cartier and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the l’Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna, the Musée des Beaux Arts in Montréal, the Eretz Museum in Tel Aviv, the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo, and the Shanghai Museum of Glass, as well as the Milan Triennale, the Murano Glass Museum, and many others.
Thanks to this inestimable historic and artistic heritage, expressed in every creation and recognised worldwide, VENINI works appreciate in value over time and still fetch top prices at the most prestigious auctions: indeed, one of the highest-paid pieces of Murano glass in history, “La Sentinella di Venezia”, signed by the American artist Thomas Stearns in 1962, was hammered at the record price of 737 thousand dollars.
The mysterious allure of the Venini Furnace has also conquered the Great Cinema: in 1979, VENINI played a starring role in the legendary “007 Moonraker”, in which James Bond is interpreted by the unforgettable Roger Moore.
One of VENINI’s distinctive features is its rich and prestigious colour palette, unmatched in the art glass sector: 125 fascinating and elegant shades, the fruit of studies and thought, experiments and research aimed at bringing new formulae to light.
In celebration of the Centennial, two new colours will enrich the company’s chromatic patrimony: CIPRIA PINK and RIO GREEN. The former expresses a sober elegance and relaxed refinement, lending lightness and grace to the glass creations, while the latter, characterised by balance, delicacy, and freshness, is particularly subtle, sophisticated, and warm. Both echo the unique colours of the lagoon landscape: the unique places, views, and dazzling reflections captured by the Renaissance artists in their paintings that still fascinate us today.
In addition to these new colours, the OXBLOOD RED is again proposed: it is one of VENINI’s historic colours, recently rediscovered thanks to the experiments and the study of new combinations of expertly formulated minerals and pigments.
From an aesthetic point of view, this colour is closely linked with the identity of the city of Venice: on the one hand, it recalls the red and brown tones of 15th- and 16th-century Renaissance painting, while, on the other, it harks back to the ancient routes of the Serenissima to the East and to China.
Moreover, from a symbolic point of view, the pairing of OXBLOOD RED and gold leaf, applied hot, again evokes the typical colours of the city of Venice, shown in its flag: this suggestive and highly expressive combination celebrates and confirms the strong historic and artistic bond between VENINI and the Serenissima Republic.
These three shades, proposed in transparent and opaline versions, offer a fresh take on VENINI’s classics, outstanding among which are the Fazzoletto, the Balloton, the Opalino, the Labuan, and the Decò, as well as the Odalische and the Battuti, creating an elegant contemporary collection.
This bond between VENINI and Venice is indissoluble: in commemoration of the first one hundred years, which coincides with the city’s 1600 years since its foundation in A.D. 401, VENINI has made a limited edition of one hundred pieces, available in two different sizes, of its most emblematic work: the Veronese This creation is revisited in Cipria Pink with Oxblood Red details, and packaged in an exclusive, collectible box.
This blown glass work was made for the first time in 1921, the year of the company’s establishment, thanks to the creative intuition of the painter Vittorio Zecchin, Artistic Director of VENINI from 1921 to 1925: the artist had been fascinated by a detail of Paolo Veronese’s painting of “The Annunciation” from 1580, still today conserved at the Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice. The painting of the holy scene includes a large vase in transparent glass, traversed by a beam of light. Characterised by its convex shape, it contains a bramble branch laden with blackberries: this element with its strong symbolic connotations is an expression of vitality and prosperity.
From the image to the object, from the painting to the master glassmaker’s breath: the vase has a complex form, its curves and voluptuousness surpass the imagination. The Veronese vase defies gravity, just as in the painting that inspired it, and its timeless beauty still today triumphs, centuries later.
These are just a first sampling of what the year 2021 holds in store for collectors: it is a meaningful year, rich in new glass creations, charged with energy and vitality to launch a new century of art, passion, and beauty.