Napoleone Martinuzzi. Venini 1925-1932
edited by Marino Barovier
Skira Editore, Milan, 2013
This catalogue was published for the second exhibition in a series of shows dedicated to the history of the Venini glassworks, organised by Le Stanze del Vetro (Rooms for Glass), a long-term cultural project launched by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung with the aim of studying and showcasing the art of 20th-century Venetian glassmaking. The many cultural activities in the Rooms for Glass project include solo exhibitions illustrating the work of artists who have collaborated with the renowned Murano glassworks. Each show is accompanied by a book, and at the end of the exhibition series the various volumes will go to make up the complete Venini catalogue raisonné. In 1925 Martinuzzi – an artist highly esteemed by Gabriele D’Annunzio – formed a partnership with Paolo Venini and began to collaborate with the celebrated furnace V.S.M. Venini & C. For this company he designed many remarkable objects until 1931. The catalogue reconstructs the entire production designed by the Murano sculptor through a sequence of around 600 works, which were recovered thanks to long, rigorous research work. The study of unpublished material from the Venini historical archive made it possible to describe Martinuzzi’s contribution to artistic life in the glassworks and identify his numerous models, previously partially unknown. After initially designing elegant transparent blown glass, he went on to create works with a new opaque texture, using pulegoso glass (characterised by dense bubbles) and opaque glass with intense solid colours. Martinuzzi thus put together a striking catalogue of artefacts that included vases, cups, and lamps but also unusual decorative items such as pieces of fruit, coloured glass animals and succulent plants, some on a monumental scale. The catalogue includes many fascinating period photographs as well as autograph and furnace designs.