Albini wickerwork armchair Margherita from 1951, produced by Vittorio Bonacina in Como, estimate €1800-2000 at Quittenbaum.

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Among the prominent artists is Franco Albini, who worked as an architect and a furniture designer from the 1920s until the late 1970s. When he died in 1977 at the age of 72, he was still teaching design at the Politecnico di Milano.

Albini was known for his love of inexpensive materials, such as Indian cane, rattan and foam rubber. One of his most familiar pieces was the wickerwork armchair Margherita from 1951, produced by Vittorio Bonacina in Como. Among its claim to fame is the fact that this was the first legless armchair of Italian design.

Albini’s contemporaries recognised his contribution to modern design; his chair was awarded a Gold Medal at the IX Triennale di Milano. The pair on offer here are estimated at €1800-2000.

Dedicated to Murano


Venini Pasta vitrea model number 10511, a red vase, estimate €8000-9000 at Quittenbaum.

A day later, Quittenbaum is holding a sale devoted to Murano.

From the mid-1920s until 1932, when he left the company, the designer and sculptor Napoleone Martinuzzi supplied numerous designs for Venini in Murano and also introduced innovative new glass techniques.

Among these was Pasta vitrea, a coloured opaque glass which was produced by adding coloured microcrystals to the clear mass. The final product bore a great resemblance to ceramics.

It was, however, far from easy to produce satisfactory results of a consistent colour. Furthermore, the long cooling process often led to an uneven surface. Under Martinuzzi’s direction, Venini rose to the occasion and produced a variety of vessels and vases in Pasta vitrea.

Among these was model number 10511, a 12in (31cm) red vase, the handles of which are finished with gold foil. Quittenbaum is expecting between €8000-9000.

The vase can be dated to 1932 and must be one of the last designs Martinuzzi provided for the company; in the same year he joined forces with Francesco Zecchin to found their joint enterprise Zecchin-Martinuzzi Vetri Artistici e Mosaici. This partnership only lasted until 1936, when Martinuzzi again sought pastures new.