CHICAGO – Wright will sell Italian masterworks, including the collection of Loris Manna, on Thursday, Dec. 13, beginning at 2 p.m. CST. This auction will celebrate the most historically significant Italian designs of the 20th century. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.
Among the offerings is one of the most impressive and important modern designs ever presented at auction: a one-of-a-kind cabinet from the Villa Nemazee. The Villa Nemazee is a gesamtkunstwerk designed by Gio Ponti in Tehran, Iran in 1960, and is one of three residential masterpieces by Ponti for which he was given carte blanche for the architecture and interiors. The cabinet defines Ponti’s rigorous approach to geometry. It features two doors on each side, which reveal or conceal drawers, creating different compositions of color and form. In a single piece, Ponti’s high style and architectural language are captured.
An important and monumental chandelier designed in 1954 by Flavio Poli for the Hotel Bristol in Merano, Italy is also among the significant pieces offered in the Italian Masterworks sale. Gorgeously detailed to a nearly unimaginable degree, this chandelier is one of only two examples; the other resides in a private collection. These chandeliers represent the absolute pinnacle of Italian glasswork. Hundreds of individual hand-formed glass flowers contrast with the overall monumental scale of the piece, creating an effect so visually dazzling that it amounts to no less than pure spectacle. Spanning over 8 feet in diameter and encircled by a wreath of pale gold and green leaves, the Hotel Bristol chandelier is truly a design of epic splendor.
Within the Italian Masterworks auction is the Collection of Loris Manna, a selection of historically important, outstanding designs from the private collection of a preeminent authority on Italian design. Loris Manna has spent a lifetime devoted to the study of Italian modernists, and is the author of the book Gio Ponti: Le Maioliche. Each piece selected by Manna for his collection is of uncompromising quality provenance.
Manna first encountered the work of Gio Ponti at a flea market in the 1970s and fell in love. From that point forward, he sought to create a home for himself that would “have the soul of Ponti.” Although not everything in Manna’s home and collection is designed by Ponti, all of it was selected with Ponti’s rigorous architectural ideals in mind. Manna endeavored to capture and recreate the same vision of an environment that enriches, delights and offers retreat. Winding through the collection is a narrative that speaks not only to the story of Italian modernism but to a lifetime of passion, a continuous and endless enthusiasm dedicated to the pursuit of important, significant design.
Rare and beautiful designs in the Manna Collection include an exceptional library designed by both Gio Ponti and Piero Fornasetti. Ponti builds a rigorous architectural framework to which Fornasetti applies decorations in a library motif. The beveled edges of the shelves are classic Ponti while the library motif is a signature of Fornasetti’s oeuvre. A frequent collaborator with designers and manufacturers, Ponti’s talents are at their best when combined with Fornasetti’s. Their partnership resulted invariably in masterpieces of 20th century design.
Highlights also include a Max Ingrand floor lamp for Fontana Arte with an organic floral motif. It is among the most superb examples of the Ingrand’s designs for Fontana Arte. A remarkably detailed beveled base of opaque glass supports brass stems which surge upward toward blossoms made of colored glass. Sculptural and refined, this important lamp is a masterpiece of lighting design and extremely rare; this example is one of approximately three produced.
Also outstanding among the extraordinary works in the Manna Collection is the Gio Ponti chandelier made by Venini, which was installed in Ponti’s own residence. Hand-blown of Murano glass, this exquisite 12-bulb chandelier is iconic among both Ponti’s oeuvre and 20th century Italian design. Other highly anticipated works include a Franco Albini dining table, two important majolica bowls and an early set of drawers by Gio Ponti and a rare Fontana Arte coffee table.
By working closely with academics and prestigious dealers and galleries in Milan, Manna acquired extraordinary one-of-a-kind pieces and special production examples by designers such as Gio Ponti, Max Ingrand and Franco Albini. The result of his passion for the highest caliber of Italian modernism is an academically rigorous collection that is largely regarded as the finest private collection of Italian design ever presented at auction.
Each piece offered within Italian Masterworks has been vetted to meet the highest standards of condition, pedigree and rarity.
Internet live bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com.
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