Cappellin Vennini &C was a famous Murano glass company founded by two illustrious gentlemen in 1921. Giacomo Cappellin was an art dealer who was born in Venice and Paolo Vennini was a lawyer from Milan. They founded the company with Vittorio Zecchin as the art director. The art director was a true muranese glass artist who believed in blending tradition with the contemporary trends. So the company started with an intention to keep the glass blowing traditions of Murano alive and flourishing. But unfortunately in 1925 the founders Cappellin and Vennini parted ways.
Giacomo Cappellin started a different art glass concern named MVM Cappellin & C. Vittorio Zecchin chose to stay with Cappellin as the art director. All the same, the company went bankrupt in 1932 and was closed down. Thereafter Cappellin shifted to Parris. There he manufactured perfume bottles. Giacomo Cappellin died in 1968.
Paolo Vennini, on the other hand, established another Murano glass concern namely Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Vennini & C. The famous Napoleone Martinuzzi was the artistic director of the company at that time. Martinuzzi started his work modelling on the works of Zecchin but by 1927 he evolved new techniques of his own. In 1927, in the exhibition of Monza he exhibited a novel technique involving colored glass pieces. Soon, another of his original creation was exhibited in the following year. This innovative technique rendered the glass opaque by introducing innumerable air bubbles in it. This is termed as ‘Pulegoso’ glass.
Martinuzzi was succeeded by Tommaso Buzzi as the art director. By then, Vennini glass had acquired a prominence in the world of art glass. Paolo Vennini found it fit to hone his skills as a glass master and in 1940 with another glass artist called Carlo Scarpa he introduced a number of innovative techniques to the art. Battuti, Tessuti, Granulari and murrine were some of these techniques.
During the World War II Murano glass works suffered a decline. But Vetri Soffiati Muranesi Vennini survived. In fact, Vennini was the only glass furnace which conducted an exhibition during the time of the war. After the war Vetri Soffiati Muranesi enhanced its techniques and introduced more and more new types of glass in every one of the Venice Biennale that followed. As the company scaled the heights of fame, a lot many artists and craftsmen began to get associated with it. As a result the products of the company became from good to the best. Paolo Vennini died in 1959 in Venice.
But the company did not suffer any set back. In his absence, his son-in-law Ludovico Diaz De Santillan took charge. He had become an expert in the business under the guidance of his father-in-law.
In spite of a serious fire in 1972, destroying a number of sketches and prototypes, Vetri Soffiati Muranesi was quick to pick up an added momentum. The 80s and 90s witnessed incredible growth in the company, thanks to the efforts of many contemporary artisans like Gardini, Ferruzzi, Fulvio Bianconi, Monica Guggisberg etc.
In 2001, the company was bought by a group of Italian luxury industrialists. They, till date, produce magnificent luxury glass items, conforming to the dreams of Paolo Vennini who started the venture as early as 1921. Even now the Vennini glass articles grace all the important museums and exhibitions all over the world.
by Marina Chernyak
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