It was a privilege to be present at Lino Tagliapietra‘s opening on February 19 for his survey exhibition Lino Tagliapietra, da Murano allo Studio Glass Opere 1954-2011 at the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti in the Grand Canal in Venice. The exhibition spans more than fifty years of Tagliapietra’s career and presents early works of the 50s, 60s and 70s which testify to Lino’s early influence as a contemporary Venetian maestro as well as presenting the artist’s recent masterpieces.
Maestro Tagliapietra has been presented with the opportunity to exhibit in this prestigious and historic Gothic space provided by The Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti. While Lino has been honored many times in the U.S. for his integral role in the American Studio Glass Movement, this exhibition is particularly significant in honoring his contribution to the history of glass in Murano.
Witnessing Lino’s art within the grandeur of the 16th century palazzo is a very moving experience. One enters the piano nobile (the principal floor in a palazzo) via the sweeping marble staircase flanked by frescoes and wonderfully carved ornamentation. The juxtaposition of Lino’s art in this setting underscores the relationship of his art to the rich history and artistry of Venice. The exhibition is divided among eleven rooms on one floor of the palace. Four palace rooms are dedicated to early works created by the Maestro during his years working in the vetrerias of Murano, including the earliest piece, a red goblet made in 1954. Three exhibition spaces are dedicated to pieces made at Ferro Galliano, La Murrina and Effetre International with the fourth containing collaborative works with Emilio Baracco, Dale Chihuly, A.D. Copier and Dan Dailey.
One of the most beautifully curated spaces features clear glass works from Lino’s Steuben residencies as well as the delicate and intricate white reticello vase forms which pay tribute to the lace making heritage of Burano.
The center gallery includes a dramatic Avventura wall installation with over one hundred vase forms with the golden aventurine surface. The work is a journey into the influence of Assyrian and Roman form. The room also contains a sixteen part Masai d’Oro wall installation and the vibrant Angel Tear used in the exhibition advertising and banners.
Among the other installations in the exhibition are twenty three gondola-like Endeavor forms, appropriately floating in front of windows overlooking the Grand Canal and a fantastic floor mounted Borboletta (butterfly) creation. Within the grand ballroom are the suspended Ala (seagull) forms dramatically hovering in front of the Venetian Late Gothic framework.
The exhibition was beautifully curated by Rosa Barovier Mentasti, esteemed art historian who descends from one of the oldest glassmaking families in Murano. In her superb essay in the exhibition catalog she writes of Lino’s rise through the “hierarchal ladder” in Murano before attaining his independent status. She uses a term from Renaissance origin, “sprezzatura” (nonchalance) to point out that when reaching the highest technical level, “the master can allow himself anything”. This is what Lino has done and this exhibition chronicles the evolution and his influences by artists such as Archimede Seguso, Galliano Ferro, Ludovico Diaz de Santillana and Andries Dirk Copier.
It was an honor to be present with those who helped make this exhibition a reality and those who have been involved with Lino’s career in Murano. Among those are Lino’s wife, Lina Ungaro Tagliapietra, whose family has been a major force in Murano glass since the Renaissance, her brother, Maestro Checco Ungaro, Rosa Barovier Mentasti, Silvano Rubino who designed and installed the exhibition, Dr. Pino Casalino, Matteo Seguso and the co-curator and sponsor from Milano, collector Sandro Pezzoli.
The importance of patrons from the United States recognizes Lino’s contribution to the American Studio Glass Movement. This was also underscored by Stephen Powell’s and John Kiley’s presence at the opening and will be also be reinforced in April with Dante Marioni’s visit to Murano and lecture on Lino’s work at the Institute.
I would hope that many collectors, artists and art enthusiasts will have the opportunity to visit this exhibition before it closes. Visitors will have the opportunity to see a large-scale exhibition of the work of this Venetian maestro in the setting where the grand history of Venetian glass began.
The exhibition will run for approximately three months through May 22nd. An exhibition catalog Lino Tagliapietra, da Murano allo Studio Glass Opere 1954-2011 has been published by Marsilio Editori in both English and Italian, with texts by Rosa Barovier and Tina Oldknow.
Please contact the gallery with any questions about the exhibition or catalog.