Archimede Seguso signed Murano,
green-yellow glass with melted blue vertical ribs
Incised mark at the base *Archimede Seguso
Height: 33 cm, L. 16 cm at the widest and 6 cm at the
Archimede Seguso (born 1909– died 1999) was one of the
20th century’s master Venetian glassmakers. He was a key figure in the survival
and revival of traditional glassblowing techniques in Murano, Italy. Original
in his designs yet consistently mindful of the legacy of glassmaking, Seguso
crafted a timelessly tantalizing array of glass pieces throughout his career.
Born in Murano in 1909, Seguso grew up in the midst of
one of Venice’s most historic glassmaking families: the Seguso line in the
glass industry can be traced back to the 14th century, and, to this day, the
family continues to maintain one of the largest glass furnaces in Murano.
Archimide Seguso decided to follow in his family’s strong tradition by
initiating his training as a glassmaker at the age of 11, and he became a
maestro of his father’s glass company when he was 20 years old. At that time,
Vittorio Zecchin and Flavio Poli were invited to collaborate with him as
By the late 1930s, Archimide had taken over the sole
control of the family business, named Seguso Vetri d’Arte (as of 1933). In
1946, he founded his own glassmaking company, Vetreria Artistica Archimede
Seguso, where he would pursue his designs in new directions. This was during
the time of the Italian reconstruction, which fueled the demand for his
chandeliers. It was also during this time that he created numerous light pieces
for public spaces, such as hotels, movie theaters, theatres, and churches,
becoming the leading Murano glassmaker of the time.
Archimide Seguso was fascinated by the results
possible through artistic experimentation, but he also maintained a deep
appreciation for the time-tested techniques of Venetian glassblowers that
transformed the medium in such striking ways. He studied and mastered 16th
century styles, such as filigrana glass, characterized by the manipulation of
glass canes to give the appearance of linear patterns, and piume glass, which
incorporated delicate feather-plume shapes into richly colored glass pieces.
Seguso also created new stylistic design elements, such as the cordonati, which
had a ribbed effect; the ad anelli, which featured rings (1948); the aghiformi,
which featured needle shapes; the opaque gold; and the nude in black and
iridescent crystal (1949).
Archimide continued to innovate by creating
interesting glass-design pieces during the 1950s and 60s, such as the Aleanti,
the Starry Filigree, the Onion, and the Optical, in addition to creating glass
In addition to his participation in 13 appearances in
the Venice Biennale between 1936 and 1972, Archimide Seguso was also invited to
participate in the exhibit “A Thousand Years of Glass in Venice” at the Museo
Correr in 1982, and he had a solo exhibit of his work at Tiffany & Co. in
New York in 1989.
Archimide died one decade later, in 1999, in Murano.
The Seguso glass studio lives on though, as does Archimede Seguso’s name,
through his masterful glass creations still found today in numerous
international collections and museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum
in London, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Corning Museum of