Above: An assortment of glass ‘Pulcini” birds designed by Alessandro Pianon for Vistosi of Italy in 1963. Photo: Phillips
Born in Venice in 1931, Alessandro Pianon attended the Architecture School in Venice and studied to become an architect and designer. In 1956 Pianon was hired by the Vetreria Vistosi glassworks initially to design the company logo. What started as a simple commercial enterprise ended up as a collaboration that produced numerous collections of glass for Vistosi. In 1962 Pianon started his own design studio and worked for several companies but his work best known from this period has to be the whimsical glass Murrine birds first produced by Vistosi in 1963.
While not initially considered high-end glassworks, as each piece was produced quickly and very much free form, the birds – measuring from 5.5 inches in height to about 9 inches – were considered rather ‘tourist wares’ as Italy was a very popular tourist destination in the 1960’s. Fast forward 50 years and these days the birds, which stand on brass wire legs and feet, now sell for around 5000 dollars each and are much sought after by collectors.
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