Love is ALL

Venitian Splendors

Alessandra Cenna





Groupe de vases Cylindre avec incalmo. Thomas Stearns per Venini, 1962 

Vase en verre noir anthracite et Sentinella di Venezia verre polychrome,1961-62, 

collection privée Trévise - collection Olnick Spanx, New York







The new autumnal exhibition of the Stanze del Vetro, a cultural project on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, between Fondazione Giorgio Cini and Pentagram Stiftung, promotes the art of glass making of the twentieth century.


The magical place of Fondazione Cini with its Palladian cloister, library, refectory and labyrinth Borges, offers an ideal setting for this unforgettable visit.


This exhibition showcases the great collaboration of the famous Italian glass maker Venini with the American artist from the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Thomas Stearns (1936-1960). Arriving in 1960 on the island of Murano, thanks to a scholarship allocated by the Italian government, he learns with talent and speed the work of glass. He creates works of astonishing modernity with the techniques of the time.

Vases A fili e Cilindro à incalmo. 

Thomas Stearns pour Venini, 1962 

His arrival at Venini corresponds with the disappearance of its founder and artistic director, Paolo Venini, replaced by his son-in-law, architect Ludovico de Santillana. From the very beginning, Stearns collaborates with the master glassmaker, «Checco» Ongaro who follows him passionately in his original projects.


In 1962, Stearns participates in the 31st Venice Biennale. He won a gold medal with six of his works, but he will never be able to withdraw this first prize which is reserved only for Italian artists.For the first time his complete collection, designed between 1961 and 1962, is on display. These 80 asymmetrical pieces, rich in chromatic effects with high contrast, evoke in their beauty the Venetian reality.For these small series of vases and lamps, unique pieces or author’s essays, he often uses the technique of Incalmo, a combination of different colors of glass welded together hot, to create a single piece blown in multiple shades .


The Facciate di Venezia - The Facades of Venice -, Il Cappello del Doge - The Doge’s Hat - and The Sentinella di Venezia - The Venice Sentinel - are among his most famous works.

Its beautiful vases are the living symbol of unparalleled virtuosity and pay homage to this Venetian tradition both by their purity and by their magical nuances, glimmers stolen from the tints of the eternal and mysterious Venice and forever enshrined in its glass works, a unique talent.




Curator Marino Barovier

The Stanze Del Vetro 

 Fondazione Cini - Venice, 

San Giorgio Maggiore Island 

from 9 September 2019 to 5 January 2020

Vases Cilindro à incalmo et vase A fili à incalmo. 

Thomas Stearns pour Venini,1962.