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Fornasetti

The Italian artist, illustrator and furniture maker Piero Fornasetti was one of the wittiest and most imaginative design talents of the 20th century. He crafted an inimitable decorative style from a personal vocabulary of images that included birds, butterflies, hot-air balloons, architecture and — most frequently, and in some 500 variations — an enigmatic woman’s face based on that of the 19th-century opera singer Lina Cavalieri. Fornasetti used transfer prints of these images, rendered in the style of engravings, to decorate an endless variety of furnishings and housewares that ranged from chairs, tables and desks to dinner plates, lamps and umbrella stands. His work is archly clever, often surreal and always fun.

Fornasetti was born in Milan, the son of an accountant, and he lived his entire life in the city. He showed artistic talent as a child and enrolled at Milan’s Brera Academy of Fine Art in 1930, but was expelled after two years for consistently failing to follow his professors’ orders. A group of his hand-painted silk scarves, displayed in the 1933 Triennale di Milano, caught the eye of the architect and designer Gio Ponti, who, in the 1940s, became Fornasetti’s collaborator and patron. Beginning in the early 1950s, they created a striking a series of desks, bureaus and secretaries that pair Ponti’s signature angular forms with Fornasetti’s decorative motifs — lighthearted arrangements of flowers and birds on some pieces, austere architectural imagery on others. The two worked together on numerous commissions for interiors, though their greatest project has been lost: the first-class lounges and restaurants of the luxury ocean liner Andrea Doria, which sank in 1956.

Fornasetti furnishings occupy an unusual and compelling niche in the decorative arts: they are odd yet pack a serious punch. They act, essentially, as functional sculpture. A large Fornasetti piece such as a cabinet or a desk can change the character of an entire room; his smaller works have the aesthetic power of a vase of flowers, providing a bright and alluring decorative note. The chimerical, fish-nor-fowl nature of Fornasetti’s work may be its greatest strength. It stands on its own. Bringing the Fornasetti look into the future is Barnaba Fornasetti, who took the reins of the company after his father's death.

Average Sold Price
$3,398
Styles
Materials
14 Fornasetti for Rosenthal Palladiana Pattern Chargers / Plates
By Fornasetti
Located in Litchfield, CT
By Piero Fornasetti for Rosenthal, Germany, circa 1970. Excellent condition. These rare Palladiana pattern chargers are fabulous examples of Piero Fornasetti’s superb designs. Meticu...
Category

1970s German Modern Vintage Fornasetti

Materials

Porcelain

Cylindrical Metal Lamp Base Viso Black/White, Iconical Fornasetti Face Decor
By Fornasetti
Located in MILANO, IT
The cylindrical shape allows Fornasetti's imagination to create surprising decorative effects in which the shapes follow one another endlessly. The metafisical face design makes this...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Fornasetti

Materials

Metal

'Lux Gstaadt' Chair by Fornasetti, Contemporary
By Fornasetti
Located in London, GB
Charming chair with the back rest decorated both sides with Fornasetti's muse, Lina Cavalieri, sporting a purple knitted ski hat with a yellow pom-pom. Hand-coloured transfer printe...
Category

2010s Italian Fornasetti

Materials

Lacquer

  • 'Lux Gstaadt' Chair by Fornasetti, Contemporary
  • 'Lux Gstaadt' Chair by Fornasetti, Contemporary
  • 'Lux Gstaadt' Chair by Fornasetti, Contemporary
  • 'Lux Gstaadt' Chair by Fornasetti, Contemporary
H 37.41 in. W 15.75 in. D 18.51 in.
Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
By Fornasetti
Located in MILANO, IT
Fornasetti trays become elegant coffee tables by adding this black wood base. Is suits a 25 x 60 cm wood tray. The image shows the tray on its holder (the tray is not included in ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Fornasetti

Materials

Metal

  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
H 19.69 in. W 23.63 in. D 9.85 in.
Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
By Fornasetti
Located in MILANO, IT
Fornasetti trays become elegant coffee tables by adding this black base. Is suits 48 x 60 cm rectangular wood tray. The image shows the tray on its holder (the tray is not include...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Fornasetti

Materials

Metal

  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
  • Fornasetti Tray Holder Black
H 19.69 in. W 23.63 in. D 18.9 in.
Fornasetti Tray Holder for a Tray Black Wood
By Fornasetti
Located in MILANO, IT
Fornasetti trays become elegant coffee tables by adding this black wood base. Is suits a 60 cm diameter metal round tray. The second image shows the tray on its holder (the tray ...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Fornasetti

Materials

Wood

Set of Mid-Century Modern Coasters by Fornasetti
By Fornasetti
Located in London, GB
Set of six porcelain coasters, series "Mitologia" depicting Greek and Roman Gods. These were designed for the New York Department store Bonwit Teller. Signed to underside.
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Fornasetti

Materials

Porcelain

Pair of Table Lamps Model Julia by Fornasetti
By Fornasetti
Located in Brussels, BE
Pair of table lamps model Julia by Fornasetti, sticker on the base, circa 1970.
Category

1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Fornasetti

Materials

Metal

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Fornasetti Sellers

Earle D. Vandekar of Knightsbridge, Inc.
5 / 5
Naviglio in snc
4.5 / 5
Themes and Variations
No Reviews Yet
Cupio Gallery
5 / 5
Vermillion 20th Century Furnishings
5 / 5
Archeologie
5 / 5
FRANK LANDAU SELECTED DESIGN OBJECTS & FINE ART, INTERIOR DESIGN
5 / 5
MrsPK&OZ Vintage 20th Century Modern
5 / 5

Creators Similar to Fornasetti

Fornasetti Furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

1stDibs Fornasetti Furniture are available for sale. These distinctive objects are often made of ceramics and are designed with extraordinary care. In our Fornasetti collection, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In stock, we have 165 vintage editions of these items, while there are also 117 modern editions to choose from. Many of the original furniture by Fornasetti were created in Europe during the 20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider Furniture by Piero Fornasetti, Archimede Seguso and Bitossi. Fornasetti Furniture prices can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Price for these items starts at $260 and tops out at $39,500, while pieces like these can sell for $1,514.