Ercole Barovier hailed from one of Murano's oldest and most successful glassmaking families. Though a student of medicine, he and his brother Nicolo joined the family business in 1920, which at the time traded under the name Vetreria Artistica Barovier. A dynamic proprietor, Ercole's true genius lay in his designs, as reflected in his major success with murrine vessels, achieved shortly after joining the firm, and soon thereafter with the introduction of his Primavera series of 1929-1930. The collection, presented at the 1930 IV Monza Triennale, featured compotes, vases, and vessels. The icon of the collection however was the regal figure of a pigeon, proudly standing with its puffed chest at the centre of the installation, immediately becoming the most famed piece from the series, deemed worthy of a full page illustration in the catalogue (illustrated).
Primavera glass was quite literally the accidental result of one of Ercole's experiments, mixing various chemicals, and with its discovery came a new and revolutionary quality of glass, reminiscent of a cobweb in colourless glass decorated with a white crackled netting, matched with highly contrasting dark amethyst glass, commonly used at the time to mimic the colour black. The collection enjoyed immediate international success but, due to the scarcity of the available mixture, only a very limited number of pieces were produced. The secret to the chemical compound was never discovered, and to this day the technique has been impossible to replicate faithfully.
Including the present lot, only six examples of Primavera ‘Piccione’ are known today; two are currently held in private collections, one example is held in the collection of Barovier, Murano, a further example is in the permanent collection of the Fondazione Chiara e Francesco Carraro, Venice and a fifth example is in the collection of The Steinberg Foundation, New York.