Napoleone Martinuzzi was born in 1892, and worked as a sculptor and glassmaker in Italy until his death in 1977. Martinuzzi completed his studies in Rome in the early 1920’s prior to returning to Murano to begin his career. During this time, Martinuzzi worked as the director of Murano’s Glass Museum while also collaborating with other artists and creating pieces on his own. Martinuzzi’s work captured the attention of Paolo Venini who invited the artist to join the Venini studio as the artistic director in 1925. The position at Venini allowed Martinuzzi a new creative freedom, as he would study the designs of the workshops previous director, Vittorio Zecchin.
Martinuzzi would eventually introduce his own style and concepts to the Venini studio, and in 1928 began to experiment with the pulegoso glass. The “pulegoso” technique creates the appearance of air bubbles of many sizes beneath the surface of the glass, and is achieved by adding salts to the glass during the molding process. Martinuzzi’s skill with glass introduced a new aspect to Venini’s catalog and created interesting dimension and color to the workshops repertoire. Martinuizzi left Venini in the early 1930’s and after some time would join Seguso Vetri d’Arte where he would also attain the position of artistic director. Today, Martinuzzi’s work is still regarded as ground breaking for his devotion to designing intricate detailing and color into his pieces.
A prominent style and period in art that was developed in the early 1900’s and steadily spread across Western Europe and America until the 1930’s. Pieces made in this style were exhibited in Paris at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs Industriels et Mordernes from which the genre borrows its name. The emergence of Art Deco is most often viewed as the continuation or response to Art Nouveau, and was regarded as the antithesis to traditional art styles because its intention was to produce pieces representing luxury and elegance. Artists who were inspired by this style drew reference from styles, cultures or concepts that were often contradictory. Art Deco’s influence is visible across many art forms, from glass art to sculpture, architecture to fashion, dance to illustrative or graphic art. Art Deco, evoked a period of creation where artist attempted to go against traditional techniques, and sought out modernity and crafted pieces representative of excess, luxury and elegance. Art Deco is quoted as dying out by 1940, but its influence returned throughout the 1960’s and can still be seen in the arts, fashion and design of today.