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New exhibition explores Italian post-war design

Barry Friedman shows Italian high style

Two post-war Italian designers, Carlo Mollino and Carlo Graffi hit the spotlight in an exhibition at Barry Friedman, East 67th Street, New York from 1 May to 11 July, confirming the growing market for twentieth-century Italian design.

Both artists were leading exponents of the innovative Fifties Italian style, producing highly original furniture, sleek, curvaceous and seductive in style. One of their trade marks was the use of sweeping curved wood, which echoed human forms combined with glass or upholstered elements. The “Arabesque” table suggests a recumbent female form supporting a smooth, glass top. Another design, a futuristic roll top writing desk was once described as “a cocoon of lovers perched on four insect legs.”

Along with the furniture is a collection of multi-coloured, experimental, Italian art glass in a bewildering variety of shapes. Revolutionary at the time, these pieces by the innovative post-war designers Bianconi, Venini, Poli and Barovier now have a strong collectors’ following.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as ‘La dolce vita'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 70 May 1997