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Fratelli Toso

Price Tax incl.:
2500 EUR

Vase decorated with millefiori murrines Circa 1920 Dim. 20 cm Bibliography for variants in the same technique: Venetian Art Glass: An American Collection 1840-1970, Barovier, pg. 188 L'Arte del Vetro a Murano, Dorigato, pg. 241 Murrine e Millefiori: 1830-1930, Junck, pl. 173 Fragili e Supremamente Inutili, Figliola, pg. 10 Venetian Glass 1890-1990, Barovier Mentasti, pg. 38-39 Biography: The Fratelli Toso (Toso brothers) were the founders of a glass factory that still produces today on the island of Murano, near Venice. In 1854, Pietro Toso's six sons (Ferdinando, Carlo, Liberato, Angelo, Giovanni and Gregorio) founded a small glassworks. Two generations after the fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797 and foreign domination by Napoleonic troops, this initiative was out of the ordinary, as glassmaking, which had a centuries-old tradition in Murano, was in its death throes due to political upheaval. Much of the know-how had been lost during the war and occupation. At first, the brothers made only utilitarian and pharmaceutical vessels. It was Abbot Vincenzo Zanetti who, after his day's work, met regularly with the brothers and taught them once again the traditional techniques of glassmaking as they existed before 1800. Their first work under this aegis was, in 1864, a large ceiling light that the brothers created for the Museo del Vetro on the island. It can still be seen there today. Other traditional chandeliers of this type followed, receiving international attention at two exhibitions in Vienna in 1865 and 1869. The brothers quickly gained notoriety and were rewarded for their objects at a series of other exhibitions held in the following years in Venice, Paris, Milan, Treviso, Trento and the Vatican. By the end of the 19th century, when the founders passed away, the family business had grown into a medium-sized enterprise with around 30 employees and a branch in Venice, on the Rialto Bridge. Thus, in 1901, Antica Vetreria Fratelli Toso was born. Lorenzo and Nicolo Toso were the directors of this second generation. The First World War was a turning point; production had to be temporarily relocated to Livorno. After the war, the factory returned to its parent company and employed 90 people. The third generation, after 1936, led by Ermanno, Michele and Aldo Toso, established commercial relationships worldwide and, in particular, developed business with American customers. Every year, the company organized an exhibition and was regularly represented at the Biennale until 1972. The fourth generation led the company to split up as a result of family quarrels. The sons of Ermanno (who died in 1973) withdrew from the business. Michele's son Arnoldo, who died in 1946, became embroiled in intractable conflicts with his uncle Aldo, who had succeeded Michele in the year of his death. The "Fratelli Toso 1854 International" company, sold by Aldo in 1981, had to close its doors in 1982, while Arnoldo's "Antica Vetreria Fratelli Toso", who considers himself the legitimate successor to the family business, continues to produce. While prior to 1900, Antica Vetreria specialized in traditional candlesticks, which can still be purchased as reconstructions, glass collectors associate the name above all with delicate vases, small handled pots and bowls with colorful murrines laminated with Millefiori decoration; The technique, the broad outlines of which were already known in Roman glassmaking in the 1st century B.C., involves cutting small slices (called "tessera") from a colored glass coil and fusing them in colorless glass. The Fratelli Toso used 1,500 different shapes of murrines, which have been divided into different categories (Cattedrale, Farfalle, Kiku, Millepiedi, Millepunti, Pavone, Spicchi, Stellati); they can be freely combined with each other, giving rise to a multitude of decorations that cannot be repeated in detail. The first pieces of this type, with their generally acid-matt surfaces, date from the period between 1900 and 1920. Variations around 1960, based on designs by Ermanno and Rosanna Tosi, do not differ fundamentally in technique; however, the shapes are more varied and the colors brighter. Exact dating is difficult for the layman; catalogs help to identify comparative pieces. After 1950, iridescent bowls in the shape of shells and stars, more rarely in the shape of animals, were also designed, which now only sporadically feature the

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