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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.

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Designer: Fornasetti
Brand New 2021 Limited Edition Louis Vuitton Onthego MM Fornasetti
By Louis Vuitton, Fornasetti
Located in Saint-ouen, FR
This super limited edition LVxFornasetti capsule OnTheGo MM Architettura tote is crafted from printed matte calfskin, with Monogram canvas trim. It is made in smooth leather mimics ...
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2010s French Fornasetti

Fornasetti Liquor Themed Six Piece 3" Coaster Set - 'Vini e Liquori'
By Fornasetti
Located in Philadelphia, PA
TheRealList presents: a set of 1970s Pierro Fornasetti liquor-themed coasters. These coasters perfectly play into Fornasetti's design style as he takes the ordinary and adds a playfu...
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1970s Italian Fornasetti

Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandoulière 25 cm , Fornasetti Limited Edition
By Louis Vuitton, Fornasetti
Located in Saint-ouen, FR
This all leather Speedy Bandoulière 25 handbag is made all golden and metallic colors; It features prints of statue heads created by the famed Italian artist Piero Fornasetti. It al...
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2010s Italian Fornasetti

Fornasetti Milano vintage signed print 100% silk blouse
By Fornasetti
Located in Antwerp, BE
A beautiful vintage original silk print by Fornasetti blouse. Signed on the collar. Beautiful condition Made in Italy - Size 42 - 100% silk Please go by measurements that are taken f...
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1980s Italian Fornasetti

Fornasetti Mod Avant-garde Italian Graphic Design Silk Necktie c 1990s
By Fornasetti
Located in University City, MO
Fornasetti Mod Italian avant-garde graphic design silk necktie c 1990s The unique Italian silk necktie is designed with a Fornasetti's iconic women's faces; juxtaposed with a partia...
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Late 20th Century Italian Fornasetti

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Fornasetti fashion for sale on 1stDibs

1stDibs offers an extraordinary range of authentic Fornasetti fashion. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of pink, purple and other tones. Most of the items here were designed during the 20th Century, but you can find examples that were created as recently as the 21st Century and Contemporary. Customers interested in this designer might also find the work of Michele Lamy, Randolph Duke and Roberto Capucci appealing. 1stDibs features haute couture, vintage and designer Fornasetti fashion from top boutiques around the world. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $200 and tops out at $7,400, while average work can sell for $795.

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