Lina, a girl Fornasetti saw in a 19th century French magazine, and used in alot of his artwork.
Piero Fornasetti was a Milanese painter, sculptor, interior decorator, engraver of books and a creator of more than 11,000 products. In terms of variety of decoration, Fornasetti’s production of objects and furniture is one of the largest of the 20th century.
Fornasetti is celebrated as being among the most original creative talents of the twentieth century. During his career he created a visual vocabulary that is instantly recognisable and unceasingly engaging. Fornasetti designed a magical world, saturated in image and color and filled with whimsy and wit.
- 1913 Piero Fornasetti is born in Milan, Italy.
- 1930 Piero entered Brera Academy to study drawing.
- 1932 Expelled from Brera for insubordination.
- 1933 First artwork shown as part of a student exhibition at Milano University. Also this year, a series of scarves in printed silk was exhibited at the Milan Triennale.
- 1935 At the sixth Triennale in Milan, Piero exhibited, among other things, a decorative bronze and ceramic frieze in an archaic style.
- 1940 Piero met Gio Ponti and went on to design ‘The Lunar’ illustrated Calendar book for him.
- 1942 Created frescoes for the Palazzo Bo in Padova.
- 1943-1946 Went into exile in Switzerland.
- 1947 Exhibited a series of motifs for ceramics at the Triennale (commissioned again by Gio Ponti).
- 1950 Decorated the interior of the San Remo Casino.
- 1951 Completed the first example of a complete interior for the Casa Lucano in collaboration with Gio Ponti. Exhibited his ‘Architettura’ furniture during the Ninth Triennale. Created the ‘Palladiana’ chest of drawers.
- 1952 Took part in the interior decoration of the Andrea Doria ocean liner, designing the first class areas.
- 1955-1958 Created the Stanza Metafisica; thirty-two decorative panels that could be arranged into an interior environment.
- 1970 Founded the Bibliofili Gallery in Milan with several friends.
- 1979 Death of Gio Ponti.
- 1980 Design store “Themes and Variations” opens in London, reviving interest in Fornasetti’s work.
- Early 1987 Piero’s first book project is in collaboration with Patrick Mauriès and illustrates his collective works.
- 1988 Death of Piero Fornasetti in Milan, during minor hospital treatment.
Fornasetti’s son, Barnaba, is perpetuating the Fornasetti tradition by continuing to produce, and revive, Fornasetti designs. At the helm of the company and its creative heart, Barnaba is the custodian of his father’s legacy. He continues to create new Fornasetti designs, renew hand-crafted production and works in collaboration with industries which manufacture Fornasetti products under license.
An abundance of important motifs have emerged from the Fornasetti archive thanks to Barnaba’s skilful tenacity and dedication. Today a variety of manufacturers deal with the realisation, production and distribution of items with the application of Fornasetti’s motifs. Similarly, the Fornasetti legacy has been secured thanks to Barnaba Fornasetti’s commitment to projects designed to articulate his father’s oeuvre. And, most importantly, the extraordinary visual language of Fornasetti is as active and strong as ever.
The Fornasetti Atelier in Milan is an outpost of careful and accomplished craft production. Here skilled craftsmen and women use the same rigorous handcrafted techniques as were employed on the very first Fornasetti products. Colour is applied by hand and the original paper patterns are still followed. Maintaining the quality of these methods of making is an important aspect of the Fornasetti legacy.
The majority of the furniture and objects produced in the Atelier are true re-editions of the original designs created by Piero Fornasetti. Objects referred to as ‘Re-inventions’, are designs created by Barnaba Fornasetti using the decorative elements and imagery found in the immense Fornasetti archive and are evolutions of the exclusive production of his father.
Meditarranea Wallcovering created for the entrance of the Fornasetti House in Milan
The Fornasetti family home is an extraordinary testament to the creativity of Piero Fornasetti. The house can be found in the Città Studi area of Milan and was built by Piero’s parents in the 19th century. Like a labyrinth, the house is made up of a complex and intricate network of rooms and corridors.
The family home became a canvas for Piero’s fervent creativity and over the course of the many years he lived here the rooms of the Milanese villa became decorated with his art. There is no better, certainly no richer, example of the Fornasetti aesthetic.
The home was a testbed for Fornasetti’s work with color and motif, unique designs, original furniture, found objects and inspirations fill the rooms. Piero’s home became a living archive of his style – the result is an intoxicating, magical experience. The house remains the Fornasetti family home and has been maintained and developed by Barnaba.