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LIVE 24-SEVEN


THE MAGICAL WORLD OF PIERO FORNASETTI


Over the last ten years, Fornasetti’s designs have become increasingly popular as his son, and now company director, Barnaba has transformed the firm into a global brand loved and collected worldwide. From the surreal to the simply beautiful, his work is now a must-have amongst designers and passionate collectors. As a new exhibition opens in Venice, his work is as relevant today as when first imagined over 60 years ago!


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Will Farmer is our antiques & collectors expert, he is well known for his resident work on the Antiques Roadshow, he has also written for the popular ‘Miller’s Antique Guide’. Those in the know will have also come across him at ‘Fieldings Auctioneers’. We are delighted that Will writes for Live 24-Seven, he brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise.


Piero Fornasetti was born on the 10th November 1913 in Milan. A natural artist and designer, he began drawing incessantly from the age of ten, always practicing and developing what was an intuitive skill. As a young man Fornasetti decorated his parents’ home with frescos influenced by Renaissance images seen in books; while balloons and airplanes covered the ceilings, scenic views adorned the walls. In 1930 and aged just 16, the young Fornasetti chose to revolt against the preferred path chosen by his father, abandoning his accountancy studies to take up drawing classes at the Accademia Brera. After only two years Fornasetti found himself expelled for insubordination!


In 1933 Fornasetti embarked on a path of creative discovery that was to develop into a lifetime of artistic expression in all walks of design and interior decoration. One of Fornasetti's earliest and most significant projects was the creation of a number of silk scarves for the 1933 Milan Triennale printed in a trompe l’oeil effect using newspaper print for pattern. Despite being rejected by the committee, they marked the beginning of his love for quirky surface pattern and a desire to exhibit his designs on an international scene. Undeterred, Fornasetti returned over following years with stronger and more adventurous designs. By 1940 he had caught the attention of Gio Ponti, an Italian architect who was to become Fornasetti's most important and loyal patron. Together their collaboration on furniture designs and large scale interior decoration projects created some of the most significant landmarks of 20th century design.


Fornasetti was fundamentally a visionary, a designer who transferred his fervent and formidable imagination to everyday objects. To call him a designer is by no small measure underplaying his achievements; he was an artist, illustrator, graphic designer, craftsman and of course a businessman. The greater majority of his work however is decoration applied to objects designed by others, be it the interior of a casino or the surface of a desk.


A fan of surrealism, Fornasetti indulged himself with a combination of daring wit and subtle humour; he clearly enjoyed provoking his audience and challenging what was perceived to be ‘normal’. The foundation of his style is the clever interplay between illusion and reality. He looked to history as a source reference, from Renaissance to Rococo Fornasetti owned an enviable library and print collection which he knew intimately. This expansive knowledge of historical styles provided him with a never-ending selection of images and motifs which could be re-worked


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BUYERS GUIDE PI ERO FORNAS E T T I


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