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Vittorio Zecchin   ( 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’.


Works: Zecchin glass