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Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti (Italy, 1913–88)
Piero Fornasetti (Italy, 1913–88)

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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Fornasetti Mod Avant-garde Italian Graphic Design Silk Necktie c 1990s
By Fornasetti
Located in Santa Barbara, CA
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...
Category

Late 20th Century 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...
Category

1980s Fornasetti

Fornasetti sun and cloud linen jacket with belt NWOT
By Fornasetti
Located in Capri, IT
Fornasetti sun and cloud linen jacket with belt NWOT
Category

1990s Fornasetti

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Previously Available Items
FORNASETTI Unique Silk Print Necktie Made in Italy
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FORNASETTI Unique silk print necktie Made in Italy The high fashion necktie is illustrated with a female figure in a garden surrounded by classic architecture The stylish Ita...
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21st Century and Contemporary Fornasetti

Fornasetti Italian Graphic Print Silk Necktie
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Fornasetti Italian Silk Locomotive Train Necktie c 1990s
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Late 20th Century Fornasetti

Vintage Piero Fornasetti Trompe L'oeil 'Cappelli' Hats Umbrella
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FORNASETTI Whimsical Silk Print Necktie Made in Italy
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1980s dress, made in italy by Fornasetti, in black, yellow and white cotton featuring a sun print. Wide pocket to the front. Low back. Size 44 IT. Measurements: bust: 44 cm hips: 53
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