design of new glasses for Venini, Fulvio Bianconi also wants to experiment with
the difficult technique of *incalmo*, thanks to which three different
models were made, part of which was exhibited at the IX Triennale di Milano in
1951. These are vases in three-color transparent glass melted with a *double
incalmo*. The two-color glass body is obtained by melting two hemispheres
of different colors, making the edges that have the same circumference adhere
to each other. In the case of a *double incalmo* the operation is
c. 1951, manufactured by Venini, Murano
glass, the upper part cased in purple, the lower part cased in cobalt blue, the
flaring body supported on a circular stand and ending in a rectangular rim,
underside with acid etched three-line factory mark *venini murano italia*,
cm, L. 11 cm at the widest part.
plus condition, no chips, polish or cracks, wear commisurate with age and use.
Lit.: M. Heiremans, Murano Glas, Stuttgart 1996, p. 91,
fig. 99. - Fulvio Bianconi alla Venini, a cura di Marino Barovier con Carla
Sonego. Skira Ed. p.224-229
Biography Fulvio Bianconi (Padova 1915- Milano 1996)
Bianconi was born in August 27th 1915 in Ponte di Brenta (Padova province, near
Venice). His parents were Emo and Elvira Bianconi. His father was a musician,
his mother a housewife and his sister Lidia was born a few years later.
From a very
young age, Fulvio showed an inclination towards drawing. When his mother read
in a local newspaper an add that was looking for ‘…a young man with a keen
predisposition for drawing and visual arts…’ she immediately said ‘…Oh, they
are looking for Fulvio…’ That’s how the young Fulvio Bianconi won a scholarship
that enabled him to get accepted in the Carmini convent. From the age of 15 to
17 he worked as an apprentice decorator in the Murano furnaces, an experience
that was to be proven precious in the future.
Bruna, a girl from Venice, and after the birth of their first born child, Maria
(Marieto as they affectionately called her) the young Bianconi family started
touring northern Italy, especially the Veneto and Istria regions, decorating
churches and painting portraits.
Fulvio met Dino Villani, who immediately understood his artistic and expressive
potential, and introduced him to Mondadori, Motta, GI.VI.M and other important
Milanese companies. During the war and until 1943, he worked in Rome and
therefore miraculously escaping the Nazi killings of Rasella street. After the
army, he continued his work as a graphic designer with various publishers,
ending up at Garzanti’s with whom he was to work continuously until 1975; and
after that for their more important editions until after 1990.
Bianconi, ‘designer of the Seven Leagues’ as Alfonso Gatto wrote in the preface
of the book ‘Fulvio Bianconi’s drawings’ (published by Garzanti multi-faceted)
always on the look for new forms of artistic expression first came to glass and
Murano in 1945 with an assignment by GI.VI.M. to design bottles for a series of
perfumes at the Venini furnace, working with glass masters Ermete and Arturo
Biassuto (nicknamed Boboli), where the bottles were to be subsequently
produced. It was then that the passion (the ‘hobby’ as he called it) for glass
was born, a passion that was to make him famous all over the world. A passion
that, especially after Venini’s death in 1959, was initially not well accepted
by the Murano furnaces where he used to go to create different glass objects
with his own hands; and this because they were reluctant to make things
different from their usual production of lamps, mirrors, vases, drinking
glasses, beads etc.
for glass and the financial independence his work at Garzanti gave him, allowed
Fulvio Bianconi to create with absolute freedom of expression, with no ties and
obligations to any commissioner, hundreds and hundreds of glass ‘unique
examples’ which constitute the intrinsic basis of Murano’s reputation as a
place of production of artistic glass.
Bianconi has been the artist who, creating in glass the Venetian Carnival and
Commedia dell’ Arte characters, was the first to portray human beings in glass,
thus breaking the tradition of glass being a secondary material as far as
artistic expression is concerned. A believer in the maximum creative freedom of
the artist, with absolutely no ties to hierarchy nor industrial clichés, he
always liked to plunge in person into the creative process.
For over 30
years he was the mind behind the external image of Garzanti, one of the most
distinguished and prestigious Italian publishing houses, making it a focal
point of reference for the best Italian and foreign graphic artists. He also has
contributed to the image of FIAT, Marzotto, HMW, Pathé, Columbia, Pirelli and
others. He was a close friend of Gaetano Sperati, Bruno Munari, Zavattini and
many other important figures who have helped shape Italy in the last half of
the twentieth century.
Bianconi both as a person and artist,
expressed a way of thought and action which belongs to a world now almost
extinct, and that which would hardly be able to exist in an age when ethical,
behavioural and existential guidelines have undergone a deep change in all
levels of society.
Bianconi by working relentlessly in more than 60 years of activity, has
designed thousands of book covers, has illustrated books, created thousands of
unique glass objects as well as many paintings; in which, according to the whim
of the moment and his need to experiment with different materials and
techniques, he used pencil, tempera, oil paint, xylograph, zinc etching, ink,
paper, wood, markers, photographs and every other material he found suitable to
Bianconi passed away on May 14th 1996 in Milano.