Fulvio BIANCONI Italy, 1915-1996

Born in Padua, Bianconi exhibited a precocious talent for drawing and earned a living as a portraitist while still a teenager. He moved to Milan to pursue graphic design before joining the army. During WWII, he survived a dramatic escape by clinging to cornice of his house to evade a Nazi raid.  In the years following the war,  Bianconi designed glass artworks for Paolo Venini, whose Muranese glass workshop was noted for unusually inviting creative individuals in all disciplines to join his community.

 

From 1947 Bianconi was a crucial designer for Venini; his playful approach and ironic forms in bold colours became a hallmark for Venini and exerted a strong influence on glassworks throughout the island. He was responsible for the famous series of figures from the Commedia dell'Arte,  and designed  the 'handkerchief' vase which became the incarnation 1950s style. In 1950,  he caused a sensation at the XXV Venice Biennale where he exhibited his 'Pezzati', a virtuoso culmination of his experiments with a new patchwork technique. Fiercely independent by nature, Bianconi was keen to work with different glass studios: Cenedese in 1954, and Vistosi in 1963, among others.  Notwithstanding forays with competitors,  Bianconi and Paolo Venini maintained close ties until the latter's death in 1959. 

 

Bianconi was one of the first artists to fully utilise technical developments in glass to celebrate the material for its intrinsic visual qualities rather than limiting its application to utilitarian objects . Regarding it akin to sculptural clay, Bianconi, in tandem with master glassblowers, shaped molten glass  in unconventional shapes and designs. 

 

His work is extensively exhibited in museum collections around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Corning Museum of Glass, New York, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.