Fausto Melotti ceramic vases
Contemporary Art

A Bold, Definitive Collection of Fausto Melotti Ceramics

By Roberta Dell'Acqua

F austo Melotti was a self-declared lover of ceramics; he adored this ductile and intriguing material. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar in 1974 he declared: "It is a mess. It is an amphibious thing and under the surface there is always a level of uncertainty, because you can never know exactly what you do. There is a Chief Director that is the fire, who stands at your shoulders and ends up directing operations. No matter how much you do, in the end he will add his own mark and this will always annoy an artist."

The Maestro had increased his activity as a ceramicist from the 1950s onwards, inaugurating an extremely experimental and prolific phase of his artistic production. The love and passion that Melotti infused in his works has attracted collectors from all over the world and never more so than today.

Fausto Melotti ceramics on display in the collector's home.

The ceramics in the Giardino di Melotti Collection offered at auction on 27 November in Milan were brought together by a collector who, thanks to the stimulating and fervent atmosphere of Milan in the 1960s, grew up surrounded by design by Albini, Castiglioni and Joe Colombo among others.

His friendship with Gio Ponti's daughters, who passed on the passion for and interest in Melotti's work which was cherished by the great designer, as well as trips to the Amalfi Coast where the Vietri pottery factory caught his eye from a young age, were fundamental. The great success of the Hockemeyer Collection auction held in Milan last April catalysed collectors’ interest in the great Italian ceramicists of the 1960s and 1970s.

Clay, a humble material par excellence, became the protagonist of a creative renaissance guided by powerful expressive freedom. The function of the original usefulness of ceramics was transformed into a medium for powerful sculptural works.

In his marvelous works Fausto Melotti was able to restitute an infinite range of shades and meanings, without ever concealing his intimate and delicate sensitivity. He managed to model both sinuous and simple lines and intricate elements, creating works closer to folds of fabric than ceramics.

Thanks to his excellent touch, Melotti won the ‘Gran Premio’ at the Milan Triennale in 1951 and the following year he participated in the Venice Biennale, sealing his success in the Italian and international scene.

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