Piero Fornasetti Early Metal Tiger Tray, Early 1950s

Buyer Protection Guaranteed


Piero Fornasetti early metal tiger tray,
early 1950s

The large rectangular Fornasetti tray in black is printed with a large tiger. This is an remarkable example of Piero Fornasetti's work.

Reference: The Complete Universe, Barnaba Fornasetti, Page 541, #170 for the design in red.

Dimensions: 23 1/2 inches x 31 1/2 inches (60 x 80cm).


    Date of Manufacture
    Materials and Techniques
    Good. The tiger is in amazing condition. As usual, with these Fornasetti early trays, there is the odd spot on the rim with wear..
    Wear consistent with age and use
    1 in. H x 31.5 in. W x 23.5 in. D
    3 cm H x 80 cm W x 60 cm D
    Seller Location
    Maryknoll, NY
    Reference Number

About Piero Fornasetti (Designer)

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.

About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2009

Typical response time: 1 hour

Located in Maryknoll, NY

  • The Art and Antique Dealers League of America
  • Antiques Associations Members

More from this Seller

Piero Fornasetti Tray with Still Life, Natura Morta Pattern, Early 1950s
Piero Fornasetti Tray with Still Life, Natura Mort...
Piero Fornasetti
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...
Piero Fornasetti Coaster Set, Americana, 1960s
Piero Fornasetti Coaster Set, Americana, 1960s
Piero Fornasetti
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
Piero Fornasetti Coaster Set, Dinner at Eight or P...
Piero Fornasetti
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
Piero Fornasetti Boxed Set of Sezione Di Frutta 'C...
Piero Fornasetti
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 ...