Marino Barovier
Skira, Milan, 2013, English
Nonfiction, Product/Industrial Design
11 x 11.75 inches, hardcover, 492 pages
ISBN: 9788857214733
Suggested Retail Price: $95.00

From the Publisher. A splendid catalogue devoted to the work of an artist who was responsible for some of the most original glass artworks in art history. Through around 300 works, documents, and original drawings from private collections and museums from all over the world, this important volume reconstructs the work and life of Carlo Scarpa from the very beginnings of his career when he worked as artistic director for the Venini glassworks, between 1932 and 1947. It is no coincidence that Scarpa’s glasswork can be organized into no less than thirty distinct styles, differentiated by the technique of execution and the glass construction method used. We need only think of the corrosi (corroded), in which the material is attacked and eaten into by sawdust soaked in hydrofluoric acid.

Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Fondazione Cini, Venice, Italy, August 29-November 29, 2012, extended until January 6, 2013.

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Norman Weinstein

The author’s name and family authority should resonate with lovers of Venetian glass because the Baroviers have been in the Murano glass business since 1295 C.E., making it arguably the oldest company of family artisans ever. Marino Barovier has written with charm and impressive erudition about Venetian glass art in general, and Carlo Scarpa as glass designer in particular in his previously published, and sadly out-of-print Carlo Scarpa: Glass of an Architect. Scarpa’s glass-designing career centered on work at two Venetian companies, M.V.M. Cappelin and Venini. The newly published Carlo Scarpa: Venini 1932–1947 drops mention of Scarpa’s Cappelin oeuvre previously illuminated in Glass of an Architect, in favor of his more technically accomplished, more wildly colorful and dramatically patterned Venini glass works. The result? A keenly written and photographically masterful catalogue raisonné of nearly 300 of Scarpa’s most daring glass designs (the contents of the 2012 exhibition in Venice “Venetian Glass: Carlo Scarpa,” coming to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in abbreviated form in November 2013).

The book categorizes glass pieces by production techniques. Within every production technique category are examples of decorative glass (vases and plates) and non-decorative glass (candlesticks). This banquet of thumbnail and full-size photos of the pieces accompanied by exhibition-terse captions is prefaced by six interpretative essays by various historians and critics, and a poignant memoir by Carlo Scarpa’s son Tobias (who has had a long and successful glass-designing career since his father’s death.). If you suspect that the 2013 Met Scarpa exhibition hints at a richer story, this grand summary of how Scarpa brought the fiery spirit of freshly minted modernism to the ancient art of Venetian glass offers a passionately panoramic overview.

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