Midcentury Marcello Fantoni Stoneware Lamp Base
Fine studio made pine cone lamp base in stoneware with a delicate pale blue glaze
by Marcello Fantoni (1915-2011) – Florence, Italy, circa 1950-1960
Provenance: purchased from Fantoni’s studio in Florence. Signed underneath If required, this piece can be wired for electricity at no extra charge.
Born in Florence, Marcello Fantoni registered at the Institute of Art at Porta Romana in 1927 to attend the course The Art of Ceramics. He graduated in 1934 as a ‘maestro’ of art, and began working as a ceramist. In 1936 he established the Fantoni Ceramic studio.
His works can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Art of Boston, the Currier Gallery, the Syracuse Museum. In Britain they are in the Victoria and Albert Museum of London, the City Art Gallery of Manchester, at Royal Scottish Museum of Edinburgh. In Japan they are present at the Museum of Modern Art of Tokyo and Kyoto. In Italy they are represented at the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, the National Bargello Museum and at the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe of the Uffizi.
In 1970 he founded the International School of Ceramic Arts at his laboratory in via Bolognese in Florence where he continued to work and teach until his passing in 2011.
What defines the Modernist ceramics of Marcello Fantoni?
The overriding principle in Fantoni’s varied body of work was that his ceramics should have “…the simplicity of a beautiful colour on a well studied form”. But, in reality Marcello Fantoni ceramics represent much more than this. Marcello Fantoni’s ceramics embody a dichotomy where the timeless appeal of ancient or traditional Italian pottery was combined with archly Modernist and progressive movements.
Who and what would you say were Marcello Fantoni’s inspirations?
Marcello Fantoni’s work fused painting, Primitivism, tradition, Modern art, the revival of craft, and the base material of clay itself. Some aspects of Marcello Fantoni’s ceramics – their spikey and angular shapes, with their forms reduced to multiple flat planes of colour bordered by inscribed sgraffito lines – suggest inspiration from Cubist painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
Marcello Fantoni produced unique, often experimental, ‘studio’ works himself, and also designed numerous ‘ranges’ that translated the essentials of his experiments into pieces that could be put into serial production. Nevertheless, every ceramic is unique in its own right as it was decorated by hand.