# 4758 / Fulvio Bianconi Venini 1951 *A Doppio Incalmo* Glass Vase

In the 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 repeated twice.

Designed c. 1951, manufactured by Venini, Murano

Colourless 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,

the underside with acid etched three-line factory mark *venini murano italia*,

Height 15,3 cm, L. 11 cm at the widest part.

Excellent 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)

Fulvio 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.

He married 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.

In 1933, 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.

Fulvio 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.

His passion 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.

Fulvio 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.

Fulvio 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.

Fulvio 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 express himself.

Fulvio Bianconi passed away on May 14th 1996 in Milano.

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Near mint

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