1912-1930 Murano Glass and the Venice Biennale

Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, Isola di San Giorgio Maggiore, Venezia
plus Apr, 14Nov, 24 2024

This spring’s appointment at Le Stanze del Vetro features the inauguration of the exhibition 1912-1930 Murano Glass and the Venice Biennale. The exhibition, curated by Marino Barovier, is devised to highlight the presence of Murano glass at the Biennale since the start of the twentieth century. It was in fact in that period that various interesting artefacts were exhibited for the first time at the Venetian event, pre-empting their ongoing presence in future editions, in which this material would occupy a place of excellence.
While in 1903, a number of blown glass objects from the Compagnia Venezia Murano were included as furnishing accessories in the Sala del Giornale (“Newspaper Room”), it was from 1912 and then 1914 that glass
featured ever more incisively and constantly, displayed in various rooms throughout the exhibition.
In 1932, it then found a permanent home in the Venice Pavilion at the Giardini, designed by Brenno Del Giudice on the initiative of the Istituto Veneto per il Lavoro, specifically to house the decorative arts.
In fact, it was this initiative that sealed and acknowledged the value of such arts, still referred to as ‘minor’ at the time, which, thanks to the Venice Biennale, were shown before the general public on a par with sculpture and painting, thus closing the gaps between the different disciplines.
The function of the Biennale then gradually became that of a “privileged showcase” but also a profitable opportunity for exchange and comparison for the Murano glassworks and above all for their protagonists, stimulated by an artistic context of international scope. The crisis of the 1970s finally led to the Biennale’s abandonment of glass works, with the pavilion being moved to the Ateneo di San Basso, in Piazza dei Leoncini.
In the light of these historical antecedents, the exhibition 1912-1930 Il vetro di Murano e la Biennale di Venezia aims to illuminate the artistic panorama that germinated from the Biennale, examining the chronological period underlined by the title, i.e. from the tenth to the seventeenth edition.
The exhibition, accompanied by its own catalogue, sets out to bring together the works on show over those editions, juxtaposed with period documents to give an account of the cultural and productive environment where various contemporary artefacts originated.
With regard to the first decade, these are mostly projects conceived by artists such as Hans Stoltenberg Lerche, Vittorio Zecchin and Teodoro Wolf Ferrari, as well as Umberto Bellotto, who drew on the collaboration of the glassworks for the implementation of their own works. From the 1920s, on the other hand, the exhibition features furnaces that, independently or with the collaboration of artist-designers, brought to light their finest production.