Archimede Seguso, one of Murano’s twentieth-century masters, was part of a renowned family of Italian glassmakers since the fifteenth century. By the age of thirteen, Seguso was blowing glass for the Vetreria Artistica Barovier, where his father was a partner. After painstaking training in traditional Murano techniques, at the age of twenty he began producing his own pieces using a small furnace in the fireplace of his home. With his father Antonio, Napoleone Barovier, and others, he was a founding member of the Seguso Vetri d’Arte in 1932 and served as master glassblower, executing his own and Flavio Poli’s designs. Umberto Franzoi singled out one multi-paneled work, I Segni dello Zodiaco (“The Signs of the Zodiac”), on display at the Milan Triennale of 1937, as bearing the “unmistakable hallmarks of both artisans—the definition of profile and volume of Poli, the vibratile spontaneity and ethereal refinement of maesro Seguso” (Franzoi, 1991, p. 28). In 1947, Seguso formed the Vetreria Archimede Seguso where he was primo maestro. Inspired by the forms and techniques of the Novecento artists and glassmakers, he notably perfected the traditional Venetian latticino and filigrano techniques and adapted them to the styles of the times. Seguso was considered a sculptor for his modeling of thin blown and solid glass in the forms of animals and figures, often in bold contrasting colors and interweaving gold leaf. His versatility is evident by his wide range of creations, which included these small and much larger sculptures, tableware, portrait busts, and chandeliers.
Roberto Aloi, L’arredamento moderno. Milan: U. Hoepli, 1934.
Umberto Franzoi, ed. Art Glass by Archimede Seguso (Venice: Arsenale, 1991).
Lenore Newman, “Seguso, Archimede,” in Design 1935-1965: What Modern Was (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1991), 398.
Revere McFadden, David, et. al., Venetian Glass: The Nancy Olnick and Giorgio Spanu Collection (Milan and New York: Charta and the American Craft Museum, 2000), 242.