Piero Fornasetti (Italy, 1913–88)

The Italian artist and illustrator 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 dishes, 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.

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“Architettura” Cabinet by Piero Fornasetti, Italy, 1960s
By Piero Fornasetti
“Architettura” Cabinet by Piero Fornasetti, Italy,...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Secretaires
Glass, Laminate, Wood
Tall two-part cabinet with an off-white and black lithographed surface throughout, depicting architectural details. The top part reveals the interior of a palazzo fitted with clear glas...
Rare Pair of Fornasetti Table Lamps Mod. Cammei, Italy, 1968
By Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Rare Pair of Fornasetti Table Lamps Mod. Cammei, I...
Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps
Brass, Fabric, Metal
Rare pair of Fornasetti table lamps mod. Cammei, Italy, 1968. Literature: Fornasetti, by Barnaba Fornasetti. Text by Mariuccia Casadio, 2009 Electa Lamp shades are new.
Huge Table Lamp by Piero Fornasetti
By Piero Fornasetti
Huge Table Lamp by Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps
Enameled metal table lamp with printed lithographic antique lanterns with brass top and bottom. Signed with early label.
Rare Vintage Fornasetti Tray Table on Stand
By Piero Fornasetti
Rare Vintage Fornasetti Tray Table on Stand
Piero Fornasetti
20th Century Italian Tray Tables
This Fornasetti table depicts Roman motif's in a circular pattern - the table is easy to move and perfect as a side table or end table... In true Fornasetti style we have a round piece ...
Piero Fornasetti Black and Gold "Cameo" Midcentury Italian Table Lamp
Piero Fornasetti Black and Gold "Cameo" Midcentury...
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps
Brass, Metal
A Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) 'Cameo' model neoclassical style table lamp from the Mid-Century Modern period, newly wired with a new socket and ready for use in the U.S. This Italian e...
Rare Surrealist Piero Fornasetti Ceramic Eyeball Paperweight, Italy, 1960s
Rare Surrealist Piero Fornasetti Ceramic Eyeball P...
Piero Fornasetti, Salvador Dalí
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Desk Accessories
Ceramic
Rare Surrealist Piero Fornasetti ceramic eyeball paperweight, Italy, 1960s. Excellent condition.
Vintage Fornasetti Calendar Dish, 1971
By Piero Fornasetti
Vintage Fornasetti Calendar Dish, 1971
Piero Fornasetti
Late 20th Century Italian Aesthetic Movement Decorative Art
Porcelain
Vintage Fornasetti calendar dish from private collection - O/8255.
Fornasetti Milano Ceramic Dish or Ash Tray
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Milano Ceramic Dish or Ash Tray
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Ashtrays
Ceramic
A beautiful accent piece to any table.
Vintage Piero Fornasetti Tray
By Piero Fornasetti
Vintage Piero Fornasetti Tray
Piero Fornasetti
20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Serving Pieces
Early tray by Italian designer Piero Fornasetti - Fornasetti is perfection in any era... for display or serving, serve up a conversation with an artful display! Great for any holiday...
Piero Fornasetti Set of 24 'Adam and Eve' Porcelai...
Piero Fornasetti
1990s Italian Mid-Century Modern Porcelain
Porcelain
Porcelain plates with lithographic transfer-printed decoration on a vibrant and elegant gold ground, comprised of 12 ‘Adam’ and 12 ‘Eve’ plates. Each plate numbered and printed with des...
1950s Piero Fornasetti Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamp “Hyacinths”
1950s Piero Fornasetti Italian Mid-Century Modern ...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps
Fabric, Metal, Brass
Italian Mid-Century Modern table lamp designed by Piero Fornasetti, base decorated with transfer printed lithographic flowers “Hyacinths”, new fabric for lampshade, 1950s. Published by...
Piero Fornasetti 'Trofei Musica' Box, Italy, 1950s
By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti 'Trofei Musica' Box, Italy, 1950s...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Boxes
Mahogany, Wood
Lithographic printed, black and gilt lacquered and hand-painted metal exterior with 'Trofei Musica' design covering mahogany interior compartment. Bottom covered in purple felt with ma...
Piero Fornasetti Serving Tray, Italy, 1960s
By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti Serving Tray, Italy, 1960s
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Bowls and Baskets
Beautiful Fornasetti serving tray featuring a vegetable design. Label on the back. Perfectly restored.
Six Italian Piero Fornasetti Malachite & Gilded Porcelain "Stoviglia" Plates
By Piero Fornasetti
Six Italian Piero Fornasetti Malachite & Gilded Po...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Classical Roman Porcelain
Gold, Porcelain
Set of six fabulous Fornasetti malachite designed porcelain with gilded forms of tabletop serving pieces. Signed Stovigilie Fornasetti Milano made in Italy 1956. They are square plates...
Two Italian Mid-Century Modern Piero Fornasetti "B...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Home Accents
Brass, Wood, Paper
Offered are two "Bosco con Balaustra" screens, in lacquer over wood lithographically printed with brass hinges by Piero Fornasetti, Italy, 1950s (Libreria on reverse).
Early Piero Fornasetti, Rare Illuminated "Malachite" Trumeau, 1950s
By Piero Fornasetti
Early Piero Fornasetti, Rare Illuminated "Malachit...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Brass, Steel, Glass, Wood
Piero Fornasetti. Rare illuminated "Malachite" trumeau. 1 of 3 known. Italy, 1952-1958. Lithographic transfer-printed wood, painted wood, brass, glass, lighting. Measures: 86 × ...
Piero Fornasetti ‘Seeds of Playing Cards’ Occasion...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Metal, Wood
Lithographic printed, lacquered and hand-painted on wood tabletop with image of card suits, hearts, spades, clubs, diamonds, atop black rubberized metal tripod base in black knots with ...
Signed Mid Century Modern Fornasetti for Rosenthal Court Jester Porcelain Vase
By Piero Fornasetti, Rosenthal GmbH
Signed Mid Century Modern Fornasetti for Rosenthal...
Piero Fornasetti, Rosenthal GmbH
Late 20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Porcelain
Porcelain
Offered is a brightly colored court jester themed petite vase by Fornasetti for Rosenthal with it's original decorative gift box.
Rare Italian, 1950s "Manici Di Ombrelli" Fornasetti Umbrella Stand
By Piero Fornasetti
Rare Italian, 1950s "Manici Di Ombrelli" Fornasett...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Racks and Stands
Whimsical as many of the great tromp l'oeil master creations, this umbrella stand plays with the theme of umbrella handles using blue and red handles on an ivory background. Brass-plate...
Set of Three Italian Unusual Fornasetti "Recipe" Porcelain Plates
By Piero Fornasetti
Set of Three Italian Unusual Fornasetti "Recipe" P...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Classical Roman Porcelain
Porcelain
These delightful hallmarked set of three Italian Fornasetti recipe plates are amusing. One is for stuffed crown roast or frankfurters, the other for wiener schnitzel, and the other for ...
Fornasetti Newspaper Hat Paperweight
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Newspaper Hat Paperweight
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Desk Accessories
Porcelain
Porcelain paperweight in the form of a newspaper hat by iconic Italian artist Piero Fornasetti.
Fornasetti Rare Complete Set of 12 Le Oceanidi Ceramic Plates, Italy, Mid-1950s
By Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Fornasetti Rare Complete Set of 12 Le Oceanidi Cer...
Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Ceramics
Ceramic
Rare and exceptional complete set of 12 'Le Oceanidi' (Oceanids) lithographically printed plates from the mid-1950s depicting distant and fantastic worlds which feature visionary creatu...
Vintage Fornasetti Zodiac Dish Acquarium, 1964
By Piero Fornasetti
Vintage Fornasetti Zodiac Dish Acquarium, 1964
Piero Fornasetti
Late 20th Century Italian Other Desk Accessories
Porcelain
Vintage Fornasetti Acquarium dish for 1964 year - nr. O/8256.
Trompe L'oeil Umbrella Stand by Piero Fornasetti
By Piero Fornasetti
Trompe L'oeil Umbrella Stand by Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Racks and Stands
Steel
A trompe l'oeil group of classical vases decorates the outer surface of a chic and practical umbrella stand. Designed by Fornasetti in the early 1950s, this example was made more recent...
Piero Fornasetti Lighter
By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti Lighter
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Desk Accessories
Porcelain
Signed Fornasetti lighter. Pipe motif with gold.
Pair of Rare Piero Fornasetti Cufflinks
By Piero Fornasetti
Pair of Rare Piero Fornasetti Cufflinks
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Porcelain
Very rare pair of Piero Fornasetti cufflinks. Italy, 1960s.
 Italian Piero Fornasetti Porcelain Tea/Coffee Set Titled "Architettura"
By Piero Fornasetti
Italian Piero Fornasetti Porcelain Tea/Coffee Set...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1970s European Mid-Century Modern Porcelain
Porcelain
This Italian Fornasetti rare and vey special architectural black and white small porcelain tea/coffee set with original tray belonged to the son of Fornasetti and was purchased from the...
Piero Fornasetti "Architettura" Dining Table
By Piero Fornasetti, Barnaba Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti "Architettura" Dining Table
Piero Fornasetti, Barnaba Fornasetti
1990s Italian Neoclassical Dining Room Tables
Metal
Large dining table "Architettura", hand-painted and lithographic transfer print on lacquered metal. First edited in 1959 from the atelier in Milan by Piero Fornasetti, this model is a 1...
Decorative Piero Fornasetti Oval Tray, Italy, 1950s
By Piero Fornasetti
Decorative Piero Fornasetti Oval Tray, Italy, 1950...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Serving Pieces
Pear and lemon motif tray by Piero Fornasetti. Produced in the mid-1950s as per the Fornasetti catalog. Original label on the back. Ideal as a kitchen or dining area decoration. Availa...
Fornasetti Side Table with "Sun" Motif, Italy, 1960s
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Side Table with "Sun" Motif, Italy, 196...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Piero Fornasetti tripod side table featuring a "sun" motif with a man's face. The base is lacquered black with brass hardware. Marked under the top. Condition: Good vintage condition...
Signed Mid Century Fornasetti Italian Metropolitan...
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Porcelain
Porcelain
Offered is a rare signed Fornasetti Teatro Alla Scala (Otello) "play bill" pin tray for the opera, "Otello". Would look fabulous on a dressing table as a catch-all or next to a bed for...
1950s, Piero Fornasetti 'Constellation' Tray
By Piero Fornasetti
1950s, Piero Fornasetti 'Constellation' Tray
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Serving Pieces
Metal, Gold Leaf, Lacquer
A wonderful, lacquered, decorative tray by Piero Fornasetti featuring the constellations of Andromeda, Canes Venatici and Aquila. The beautiful illustrations are made from transfers of ...
Midcentury Italian Fornasetti Architecture Metal and Brass Table or Desk Lamp
By Piero Fornasetti
Midcentury Italian Fornasetti Architecture Metal a...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Table Lamps
Metal, Brass
This amazing and rare vintage Mid-Century Modern Italian Fornasetti architecture metal and brass column table or desk lamp is rarely seen on the market. The original brass has been poli...
1960s Fornasetti Set of "Adam" Coasters with Original Gold Box
1960s Fornasetti Set of "Adam" Coasters with Origi...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Ceramics
Ceramic
A complete set of eight Fornasetti coasters depicting a reclining, biblical Adam. Fornasetti has created a fascinating, interactive ceramic jigsaw puzzle of the figure of Adam to be arr...
Collection of Five Objects by Piero Fornasetti, circa 1960s
By Piero Fornasetti
Collection of Five Objects by Piero Fornasetti, ci...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Porcelain
Porcelain
Collection of vintage silk screen and transfer-printed decorative porcelain items by renowned Italian smart-alec Piero Fornasetti, including a 1963 paperweight in black and white with g...
Signed Piero Fornasetti Italian Mid Century Modern...
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Bowls and Baskets
Porcelain
Offered is a set of three white and gold porcelain pin trays by Piero Fornasetti with and Italian advertising label theme in black.
Bookends by Piero Fornasetti Glazed Metal Made in Milan Vintage, Italy, 1960s
By Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Bookends by Piero Fornasetti Glazed Metal Made in ...
Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Desk Accessories
Metal
A pair of bookends designed by Piero Fornasetti for Fornasetti, glazed metal with silk-screen printings. Manufacturer brand under the base. Made in Milan, Italy, 1960s.
Fornasetti Side Table with Seashell Motif, Italy, 1960s
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Side Table with Seashell Motif, Italy, ...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Piero Fornasetti tripod side table featuring the "Conchiglie in Tondo" motif with colored seashells on an off-white background. The base is lacquered black with brass hardware. Condi...
'Pistole et Chiavi' "Pistols and Keys" Desk by Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti
'Pistole et Chiavi' "Pistols and Keys" Desk by Gio...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1980s Italian Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writing Tables
'Chiavi et Pistole' desk designed by Gio Ponti (1891-1979) and Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988). A stunning black lacquer four-drawer desk on brass sabots. Printed with pistol and key motif...
Mirror by Piero Fornasetti, Italy, 1950s
By Piero Fornasetti
Mirror by Piero Fornasetti, Italy, 1950s
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Wall Mirrors
Mirrored convex glass, framed in lithographed wood, depicting numerous classical cameos. Original label on the back.  
Set of Eight Fornasetti Corone Crown Coasters
By Piero Fornasetti
Set of Eight Fornasetti Corone Crown Coasters
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Ceramic
A very rare full set of eight Fornasetti coasters in the "Corone" or crown pattern. Each coaster features a different crown pattern lithograph printed in black with gold on white glazed...
Fornasetti Curved Cabinet Citta di Carte
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Curved Cabinet Citta di Carte
Piero Fornasetti
21st Century and Contemporary Italian Cupboards
This is cabinet is number 3 of 12 hand painted in Milan in 2016. The Italian artist and illustrator Piero Fornasetti was one of the wittiest and most imaginative design talents of t...
 Eight Mid-Century Piero Fornasetti Porcelain Coasters "Adam"/ Barware / SALE
By Piero Fornasetti
Eight Mid-Century Piero Fornasetti Porcelain Coas...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Porcelain
Porcelain
These lovely and interactive set of eight Fornasetti porcelain Mid-Century barware coasters of the allegorical and biblical "Adam"are like a puzzle for you to play with. They are a comp...
Piero Fornasetti Wall Round Optical Mirror in bra...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Wall Mirrors
Brass, Velvet, Mirror
Very Rare optical mirror by Piero Fornasetti with blue velvet band. The mirror has a very fine light green color mirrored glass and The brass frame has its original patina. Manufactured...
1960s Moro Head Vase by Piero Fornasetti, Italy
By Piero Fornasetti
1960s Moro Head Vase by Piero Fornasetti, Italy
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Vases and Vessels
Magnificent enameled gold ceramic vase by Piero Fornasetti (Milan 1913-1988), considered among the most original and creative talents of the 21st century. A rare piece depicting the h...
Fornasetti Chair Moro
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Chair Moro
Piero Fornasetti
21st Century and Contemporary Italian Chairs
This is chair number 12 out of 20 hand-painted in Milan in 2015. The Italian artist and illustrator Piero Fornasetti was one of the wittiest and most imaginative design talents of th...
Paperweight by Piero Fornasetti, Italy, 1960's
By Piero Fornasetti
Paperweight by Piero Fornasetti, Italy, 1960's
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Desk Accessories
Porcelain
Porcelain paperweight printed with two figures in a chariot pulled by six horses. Marked Fornasetti Milano Made in Italy on the underside. OUR REFERENCE NN8871j  
1960s Two Sets of Italian Design Piero Fornasetti Adam and Eve Coasters
By Piero Fornasetti
1960s Two Sets of Italian Design Piero Fornasetti ...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Porcelain
Porcelain
Two complete sets of Adam and Eve porcelain coasters by artist and illustrator Piero Fornasetti, circa 1960s. Each set retains its original gold box and paper inserts to place in betwee...
Tall Lamp by Piero Fornasetti
By Piero Fornasetti
Tall Lamp by Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1970s Italian Table Lamps
Lacquer
Nice lamps with neoclassical design.
Rare " Butterfly" Mirror by Piero Fotnasetti
By Piero Fornasetti
Rare " Butterfly" Mirror by Piero Fotnasetti
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1980s Italian Wall Mirrors
Lacquer
Multi colored mirror with butterfly
Fornasetti Milano Ceramic Dish or Ash Tray
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Milano Ceramic Dish or Ash Tray
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Bowls and Baskets
Ceramic
A beautiful Fornasetti dish, in the manner of a newspaper. This unique dish would be a great addition to your collection, or a stand alone conversation piece for any side table.
"Il Mondo Alla Rovescia" Set of Nine Piero Fornase...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Porcelain
Set of nine porcelain coasters by Piero Fornasetti. Il Mondo Alla Rovescia. Numbered: 1,2,2,4,4,5,6,8,8.
Piero Fornasetti ice bucket "Ricette per Cocktail", Italy circa 1950
By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti ice bucket "Ricette per Cocktail"...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian More Dining and Entertaining
Brass, Plastic
Piero Fornasetti ice bucket “Ricette per Cocktail” Plastic, metal and brass. Lithographically printed and hand-colored. Marked to underside 25 cm high x 19 cm diameter Italy, circa 1950...
Piero Fornasetti, Magazine Rack, circa 1950s
By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti, Magazine Rack, circa 1950s
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Racks and Stands
Brass
Magazine rack with decor of exotic birds, hand-painted and lithographically printed. With legs and divider in brass. Label: Fornasetti Milano - Made in Italy, 1950s.
Set of Five White and Gold Ceramic Plates by Piero Fornasetti
By Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Set of Five White and Gold Ceramic Plates by Piero...
Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Bowls and Baskets
Gold Plate, Ceramic
Set of five decorated Plates from the "ricette d'Italia" series, designed and produced by Piero Fornasetti around 1960s. This set is composed by four plates with Turinese typical recip...
Early Piero Fornasetti Flower Serving Tray, 1950s
By Piero Fornasetti
Early Piero Fornasetti Flower Serving Tray, 1950s
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Platters and Serveware
Enamel
Piero Fornasetti early enameled flower motif tray, 1950s The large rectangular Fornasetti tray is an remarkable example of Piero Fornasetti's work. Measures: 25 D x 59 B x 1.3 H cm.
Fornasetti Glass and Brass Coffee Table
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Glass and Brass Coffee Table
Piero Fornasetti
1990s Italian Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Beautiful Fornasetti coffee table from the 1990s with a screen printed glass top featuring the “Gerusalemme” motif. Marked on the bottom left corner. The glass top was originally concei...
Fornasetti Adam and Eve, Adamo and Eva, 24 Porcelain Plates
By Piero Fornasetti
Fornasetti Adam and Eve, Adamo and Eva, 24 Porcela...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1980s Italian Mid-Century Modern Dinner Plates
Porcelain
Early set of Piero Fornasetti Adam and Eve lithographic transfer-printed plates. Mint Condition.