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"Art and Design in Italian Glass: The Steinberg Foundation Collection, New Exhibition Presents Glass from Murano, 1930 -1970"
2000-11-07 until 2001-01-14
Corning Incorporated Gallery at Steuben
New York, , USA United States of America

This exhibition will present a selection from the comprehensive collection of Italian art glass belonging to The Steinberg Foundation in Liechtenstein. Italian glass is one of today's most active fields of research and collecting, said exhibition curator Tina Oldknow. Since ancient times, Italy - and especially Venice and Murano - has been the locale of some of the greatest achievements in the history of glassmaking. Italian glass of the mid 20th-century continues this historic trend.

The glass collected by The Steinberg Foundation was created on the Venetian island of Murano. The exhibition will feature outstanding objects by such internationally known names in glass design as Alfredo Barbini (b. 1912), Ercole Barovier (1889-1974), Fulvio Bianconi (1915-1996), Riccardo Licata (b. 1929), Tyra Lundgren (1897-1979), Dino Martens (1894-1970), Flavio Poli (1900-1984), Carlo Scarpa (1906-1978), Archimede Seguso (1909-1999), Paolo Venini (1895-1959), and Tapio Wirkkala (1915-1985). Muranese glass companies represented in the exhibition include Alfredo Barbini, Arte Vetraria Muranese (A.VE.M.), Barovier & Toso, Fratelli Toso, Seguso Vetri d'Arte, Venini, Vetreria Archimede Seguso, Vetreria Aureliano Toso, Vetreria Gino Cenedese, and Vetreria Vistosi.

Muranese glass at the beginning of the 20th century was characterized by popular but old-fashioned styles that incorporated baroque forms and fussy, overly complicated decorations. More restrained revivals of historic styles in glass were also typical of turn-of-the-century Venetian glass. Glass design on Murano began its reinvention in the 1920s. The field was infused with new life by architect-designers, as well as by local and foreign artists, who worked with Muranese glassblowers to produce new and challenging avant-garde designs in glass, while maintaining the island's traditional high standards of quality. Without the superb technical resources of Murano's renowned glass masters, many of the new concepts could never have been realized.

We chose to develop a collection that afforded us the opportunity to clarify and analyze an aspect of 20th-century art that was still obscure, one with historical associations and artistic and aesthetic questions that needed further study, said Dr. Lambert Grasern, curator of The Steinberg Foundation. We saw it as our mission to sift and reappraise mid-20th-century Italian glass with the aim of furthering knowledge of the subject.

Following World War II, Italian design established an international reputation for style and sophistication in a number of design fields, including automobiles, furniture and furnishings, lighting, interior design, and fashion. This intensely creative period in Italian design was echoed in the glass developed on Murano. Not since the Renaissance had Murano commanded as much international attention for the innovative and popular designs of its glass, or the outstanding quality of its production. Styles ranged from architect Carlo Scarpa's subtle vessels exploring concepts of light and space in glass to the dynamic, expressionistic, and colorful vases of Fulvio Bianconi and Dino Martens.

A comprehensive catalogue with 250 color illustrations of The Steinberg Foundation collection, Italian Glass, 1930-1970: Masterpieces from Murano and Milan, accompanies the exhibition at The Corning Incorporated Gallery. Co-authored by Prof. Dr. Helmut Ricke, director of the Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf, and Eva Schmitt, the book was published in 1997 by Prestel Verlag, Munich and is available for purchase at the Gallery or on order from the Museum Shop at The Corning Museum of Glass.

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