Gio Ponti was appointed artistic director of Richard Ginori from 1923 to 1930. Richard Ginori was formed in 1896 after the Ginori family business dating back to 1735 - with a factory located in Doccia near Florence - was assimilated by the Società Ceramica Richard of Milan. Ponti’s role was to overhaul the business, which he did by introducing mass-production, but without sacrificing quality, and by creating new ranges. At the heart of his business was the belief in the relationship between art and industry and a desire to reinvigorate the Italian nation through great design. Inspiration came from the rich Italian heritage and was transposed into a modern aesthetic idiom that was graphic in manner using lines and varied tonality. The forms of his pieces were simple, and he kept the surfaces smooth and clean, though on occasion introduced some decorative features in relief. Decorative motifs were drawn from a wide range of sources including the ancient world and architecture that nurtured a strong sense of national identity. The designs have much in common with French Art Deco too in their use of stylised motifs, for example in the figure of Il Pellegrino (The Pilgrim). Ponti exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle des Arts Decoratifs of 1925 and in fact won a Grand Prix for his designs for Richard Ginori. This was the exhibition which gave rise to the name Art Deco as a style.
We were delighted to include a fine group of ceramics by Ponti for Richard Ginori in our April 2021 Modern Made auction. Here we take a closer look at a few highlights...
The angel surmounting the cover was designed for the wedding anniversary of Ugo and Fernanda Ojetti in 1926 but was then re-introduced on Il Trionfo dell-Amore della Morte, a piece designed by Ponti and exhibited at the IV Triennale in Monza, 1930. A similar example of the vase was designed by Ponti in 1925 and then produced by Richard Ginori in 1929, but the cover featured two dancing figures.
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