“In fashion one day you’re in, the next day you’re out”. The words of fashion mogul Heidi Klum, host of tv’s Project Runway, can also easily apply to the arts. In the case of Italian glass artist maestro Toni Zuccheri (1936-2008), I would add “and with luck, the next day you’re IN again”.
Studying at the University of Venice under some of the great glass artists of the 20th century like Carlo Scarpa, Zuccheri started his career at the Venini glass studios. In the 1960s and 70s, he gained prominence producing vases, bowls and lighting that were organic, sculptural and freely shaped instead of the controlled and simple-lines of the classic modern design produced by his colleagues.
But it was his radically eccentric and over-the-top glass and bronze bird sculptures – phoenix, owls, chickens, guinea fowl and hoopoes – that really put him on the artistic map. Glass is an unforgivingly difficult medium and so having the ability to design colorful birds and all that it entails is frankly genius!
And then, just like Rip van Winkle, the collecting community fell asleep and Zuccheri was largely forgotten.
Today, that is changing and collectors are starting to take note again. For starters, none of his designs were produced in vast numbers. The prices for his non-bird production (vases, bowls, lighting) from Venini, VeArt and Barovier & Toso are generally less than US$8,000. The birds, on the other hand, can go for US$100,000+. Add to this that bird fakes are very hard to make given the technique, and therefore non-existent and you have a collecting genre that is ready to take flight.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my feature today. I love what I do as an interior designer and art advisor, and it’s my hope that through these blog posts I’m enriching and heightening your aesthetic sensibility towards art, design and fabulous interiors in some way ~ Richard Rabel (a.k.a. the modern sybarite)