( Murano 1878 - 1947 )
Painter, graphic designer,
designer of glass, furniture and ceramics.
The visionary Italian artist did not begin his artistic career
until he was over thirty years of age. He had originally
abandoned his ambitions at the age of twenty-three, when,
disillusioned with the narrow, unimaginative style of teaching
at the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts and convinced that nobody
would listen to his ideas, he left in 1901 and became a civil
servant in Murano.
Zecchin remained at his municipal
desk for eight long years, until 1909, by which time the first
whisperings of a new artistic movement in Venice had become
strong enough to persuade him that there was a place for him in
the creative world.
Unable to contain his creative
powers any longer, Zecchin joined a group of artists, who
influenced by the idea of Klimt and Toorop, had pooled their
ideas and began to exhibit at the Ca’Pesaro, the Museum of
Modern Art, between 1908 and 1920.
By 1913-14, Zecchin had managed
not only to set his feet firmly along the decorative path that
he wished to follow, but had become central to the movement.
The high point of Zecchin’s
endeavors as a painter was reached in 1914 with his opulent
30-meter-long (100-foot) series of a dozen canvases entitled “Le
Mille e una Notte” (One Thousand and One Nights)
depicting the procession of Aladdin and his fabulous,
gift-bearing entourage of eastern princes and princesses,
arriving to seek the hand of the Sultan’s daughter. These were
commissioned for the dining room of the Hotel Terminus in Venice,
but later, alas, scattered between diverse public and private
collections. Ca’ Pesaro presently owns half of
the “One Thousand and One Nights” panels.
Over the next few years, he
applied his decorative philosophy to glassware and tapestry,
setting up his own tapestry workshop in Murano in 1916 and
becoming director of the Cappellin-Venini glass company in 1921.
He worked with Artisti Barovier from 1921-25, M.V.M. Cappellin
from 1925-1926, V.E.M. in 1932, Artistica Vetreria e Sofferia
Barovier & Toso in 1933 and Fratelli Toso in 1938.
He was thus able to continue
practising and teaching his craft and ideology until 1938, when
he retired, exhausted, saying: ‘I can sing no longer, my heart
is sucked dry’.