Please note that the last sentence in the first paragraph of the artist's statement incorrectly makes reference to the Facades of Venini; it should read the Facades of Venice.
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF THOMAS STEARNS
The Venini exhibition case for the XXXI Venice Biennale, 1962. Photo courtesy of Franco Deboni.
Lagoon Venice: surfaces of water, rising, facades, reflection, would-be images. Counter-flanking domiciles, reiterating to each fictitious face, fascia, fact. Grand voyeur expanse, lucid mode of window/slit and/or monastic momentary movement of habitation. Often piety meant to encage, confuse, in eye musk. Illusion, effects by centuries, being out of time. Facades melting, sequestered allegiance of heart bearing, mute contents honed in thought. Aperture intentionally imploding, a reference to a navel, matrix or perhaps an internal core or breath.
Thomas Stearns with "Checco" Ongaro in the Venini factory, 1962. Photo courtesy of Thomas Stearns.
In 1960 when I was 24, I went to Italy under the aegis of the Italian Government's Post Graduate Awards Fellowship (for research in Glass and Fiber) and a Fulbright Travel Grant. Upon my arrival, I went to work for Venini Glass designing pieces for production as well as unique objects. Venini entered six of the latter group into the XXXI Biennale of 1962 (see photo of Biennale Case). The judges awarded the Gold Medal for Glass to my six works only to retract it after they learned a non-Italian had designed them. Out of the unique pieces executed at Venini, the Facades of Venicei are of great importance to me.
Ten pieces were produced under this title. The example in this auction is the tenth and the culmination of my vision for this work. Numbers One and Two, an experimental study, flat and slab-like, were sold shortly after my return to the U.S. They were exhibited for the first time at New York's Muriel Karasik Gallery in 1989. They are documented in the following publications: Muriel Karasik Gallery, The Venetians: Modern Glass 1919-1990, 1989, no. 56; Fondazione Giorgio Cini. Gli Artisti Di Venini: Per una Storia Del Vitro D'Arte Veneziano, 1996, no. 224; and Anna Venini Diaz de Santillana, Venini Catalog Raisonné 1921-1986, 2000, p. 222, no. 188.
Numbers Three and Four, completely embodying my vision of Facades of Venice were intended for the Biennale, but one was destroyed in the annealing furnace. The remaining piece, Number Four, was part of my collection for many years and is now owned by a collector in New York City. Numbers Five and Six, made to replace the piece lost during the annealing, were among the six pieces exhibited in the 1962 Biennale. I was told that all six of these works, archived in Venini's Permanent Collection, were destroyed in a fire at the Venini Museum in the late 1970s.
Numbers Seven, Eight and Nine, without the imploded top, were an ongoing experimental study designed as a group of three and fabricated after the Biennale. These three works, sold at the same time as One and Two, were also exhibited at the Muriel Karasik Gallery in 1989 and reproduced in Muriel Karasik, The Venetians: Modern Glass 1919-1990, 1989, no. 56 and Fondazione Giorgio Cini, Gli Artisti Di Venini, Per una Storia del Vetro D'Arte Veneziano, 1996, no. 225.
This statement is an effort to correct and clarify previously published information relative to my work and create an accurate understanding of the Facades of Venice.