Details & Cataloguing



Napoleone Martinuzzi
1892 - 1992
with acid stamp venini / murano
blown colourless bollicine glass with applied handles
33 x 36 x 26 cm (13 x 14  1/8  x 10  1/4  in.)
designed 1930, executed after 1932, before 1940
produced by Venini, Murano, Italy
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Rolf Stenersen, Oslo, Norway
Thence by descent


Giulio Lorenzetti, Vetri di Murano, Bergamo, 1931, n.p., fig. 22 for an example executed in pulegoso glass
Rosa Barovier Mentasti, Attila Dorigato, Astone Gasparetto, et al., Mille Anni di Arte Del Vetro a Venizia, Venice, 1982, p. 265, fig. 525 for an example in pulegoso glass
Marina Barovier, ed., Napoleone Martinuzzi: Vetraio del Novocento, Venice, 1992, front cover for an example in blue pulegoso glass, p. 19, p. 80, fig. 21, p. 81, fig. 22 for examples executed in pulegoso glass
Franco Deboni, Murano '900: Vetri e Vetrai, Milan, 1996, p. 264 for an example executed in pulegoso glass
Anna Venini Diaz de Santillana, Venini: Catalogue Raisonné 1921-1986, Milan, 2000, pp. 86 and 198, fig. 44 for examples executed in pulegoso glass
Franco Deboni, VENINI: Its history, artists and techniques, Volume I, Turin, 2007, n.p. for the model in the 'Blue' catalogue
Franco Deboni, VENINI GLASS: Catalogue 1921-2007 Volume II, Turin, 2007, front cover, fig. 16 for examples executed in pulegoso glass
Marino Barovier, NAPOLEONE MARTINUZZI: VENINI 1925-1931, exh. cat., Le Stanze del Vetro, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, 2013, pp. 17, 190, 212-213, 334, 459 for drawings, an archival photo, examples executed in pulegoso glass, and an example executed in black opaque glass

Catalogue Note

The present lot is a rare hybrid designed by two masters of Venetian glass: Napoleone Martinuzzi and Carlo Scarpa. One of the most iconic and important glass designs of the 20th century, model 3273 was originally designed to be executed in pulegoso glass. The creation of pulegoso glass, designed by Martinuzzi in 1928, was accomplished through mixing potassium bicarbonate or oil into raw glass, resulting in a spongy and opaque texture which permitted a greater degree of plasticity. The first models executed in pulegoso were exhibited at the 16th Venice Biennale the same year, with model 3273 exhibited two years later at the 4th Monza Triennale in 1930.

Armed with a wealth of technical knowledge and expertise from his time spent at MVM Cappellin, Carlo Scarpa joined Venini in 1932, the same year as Martinuzzi’s departure. Upon his arrival, he immediately injected a wealth of creativity to the firm, introducing new forms and techniques, one of the first being bollicine glass. Expanding upon Martinuzzi’s pulegoso, bollicine is created by injecting potassium nitrate directly into the glass. The result is smaller micro bubbles and a watery appearance due to the higher crystal content.

There are currently seven known examples of model 3273 to exist in pulegoso: five in green, one in red and one in blue, the latter of which was executed at Zecchin-Martinuzzi after Martinuzzi had left Venini. A further smaller example was produced in opaque black glass and is approximately 2/3 the size of the original design. To date, the present lot is the only known example in colourless bollicine glass.

Rolf Stenersen was a close friend, advisor and patron of Edvard Munch, whom he met in 1921 when he visited the artist’s studio in Ekely at the age of twenty-two. Stenersen worked closely with Munch, eventually acquiring the largest collection of works by Munch outside of the artist’s own holdings. A large portion of this collection is now housed in the purpose built Stenersen Museum in Oslo, Norway. Munch painted portraits of the entire Stenersen family in the 1920s and 1930s, and a head study of Rolf Stenersen was sold in Sotheby’s London saleroom, 13 June, 2006, lot 117. Following World War II, Stenersen acquired works by artists including Picasso, Miró, Kandinsky, Klee, Vasarely and others. In 1971 he presented this collection which totalled over 300 works to the city of Bergen and established the Stenersen Foundation in which to house them.

A certificate of expertise from Marc Heiremans is provided with this lot.