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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Set of Six Signed Numbered Midcentury Italian Fornasetti "Le Oceanidi" Coasters

By Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Set of Six Signed Numbered Midcentury Italian Forn...
Piero Fornasetti, Atelier Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Porcelain
Offered is a very rare signed and numbered set of six porcelain print transfer Mid-Century Modern Italian Fornasetti "Le Oceanidi" cocktail coasters with shell and woman theme.
Piero Fornasetti Set of Eight "Quand on Arrive" Clock Coasters, 1950s

By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti Set of Eight "Quand on Arrive" Cl...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Ceramic
Piero Fornasetti set of eight "Quand on Arrive" clock coasters, "When one arrives" early 1960s. These charming early Piero Fornasetti large coasters, each with a clock face and a d...
Piero Fornasetti Tray with Still Life, Natura Morta Pattern, Early 1950s

By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti Tray with Still Life, Natura Mort...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Metal, Aluminum
Piero Fornasetti tray with still life, Natura Morta pattern, Early 1950s. This is a wonderful early 1950s oval red tray depicting various vegetables in a still life composition in...
Vintage Mid-Century Italian Fornasetti Metal Serving/ Bar Tray

By Piero Fornasetti
Vintage Mid-Century Italian Fornasetti Metal Servi...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Metal, Paint
This great and rare serigraphed mid century metal serving or bar tray is Mid-Century and the work of Piero Fornasetti. This is great for your bar and or serving.  
Eight 1950s Piero Fornasetti Musicalia Canapes or ...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Neoclassical Barware
Ceramic
Elegant and pure Fornasetti, these eight gilt, black and white dishes featuring neoclassical visions of musical instruments were an exclusive by Fornasetti for Bonwit Teller. To be used...
 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 Barware
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...
Vintage Piero Fornasetti Tray

By Piero Fornasetti
Vintage Piero Fornasetti Tray
Piero Fornasetti
20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
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...
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...
Piero Fornasetti Coaster Set, Americana, 1960s

By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti Coaster Set, Americana, 1960s
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Ceramic
Piero Fornasetti coaster set, Americana, 1960s. The set of eight coasters, lithographed, gilded and glazed, depicts Washington, John Adams, General Lincoln, Franklin, General Wayn...
Piero Fornasetti Coaster Set, Dinner at Eight or Pranzo Alle Otto

By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti Coaster Set, Dinner at Eight or P...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Ceramic
Piero Fornasetti coaster set, Dinner at eight or Pranzo Alle Otto, 1960s. A full set of eight lithographed and glazed ceramic coasters featuring various Italian culinary dishes. ...
Piero Fornasetti Boxed Set of Sezione Di Frutta 'Cut Fruit' Coasters, 1960s

By Piero Fornasetti
Piero Fornasetti Boxed Set of Sezione Di Frutta 'C...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Ceramic
Piero Fornasetti boxed set of Sezione Di Frutta (Cut Fruit) Coasters, 1960s. This is a fantastic series with split views of different fruits depicted in rich color and detail with ...
Set of Eight Italian Fornasetti Gilded Porcelain Roman Chariot Coasters

By Piero Fornasetti
Set of Eight Italian Fornasetti Gilded Porcelain R...
Piero Fornasetti
Vintage 1950s Italian Classical Roman Barware
Gold, Porcelain
Rich in subject matter and rich in gold porcelain are these lovely Fornasetti complete set of eight Roman Chariot coasters. They have a romantic quality to them. The top is rich in gild...
Set of Seven Piero Fornasetti Mitologia Gilded Porcelain Coasters, Italy, 1950s

By Piero Fornasetti
Set of Seven Piero Fornasetti Mitologia Gilded Por...
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Porcelain
A set of seven beautiful "Mitologia" small plates or coasters with gold-painted Greek mythological illustrations by Piero Fornasetti, Italy, 1950s. In very good condition with marginal ...
Set of Piero Fornasetti Velieri Tallship Porcelain Coasters with Original Box

By Piero Fornasetti
Set of Piero Fornasetti Velieri Tallship Porcelain...
Piero Fornasetti
Mid-20th Century Italian Mid-Century Modern Barware
Porcelain
The set of eight Piero Fornasetti porcelain coasters each depict a different Spanish Galleon. The coasters come with their original blue box with a compass printed on the cover.