Venini Pennellate vase, model 3664, designed by Carlo Scarpa, $85,000 (£67,100) at Wright.

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One was designed by Milanese architect Tomaso Buzzi (1900-81) c.1932, the other by Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa (1906-78) c.1947.

Scarpa designed for Venini from 1932-47 creating around 30 ranges that were different in form and technique.

The 13in (34cm) vase offered at Chicago design specialist Wright (26% buyer’s premium) on December 13 was exceptional both as an example of the rarified Pennellate series and a charity shop find. Although fully signed to the base with a three-line acid stamp reading Venini Murano Italia, it had been bought earlier this year at a thrift store in Richmond, Virginia for just $3.99.

Pennellate (brushstrokes) vases were notably difficult to make and few have come to market. The technique involved decorating a clear glass vessel with small amounts of opaque glass (here a turquoise green and iron red) while it was being blown. Spinning the glass created the irregular painterly effect of brushstrokes.

This vase, model 3664, is like another pictured in the 2012 catalogue Carlo Scarpa: Venini 1932-47 that is dated c.1942. Described by Wright as one of the rarest pieces the firm had offered in more than a decade, it was guided at $30,000-50,000 and hammered at $85,000 (£67,100).

Etruscan influence


Venini glass vase, model 3458, from a design by Tomaso Buzzi, €50,000 (£43,100) at Il Ponte Casa de Aste.

One of the ‘Novecento Milanese’ who helped shape Italian taste in the 1930s, Buzzi began his collaboration with Venini in 1932.

The vessel (model 3458) offered at Il Ponte Casa de Aste (26% buyer’s premium) in Milan on December 20-21 is part of an early series inspired by Etruscan art. It borrows its form from an askos, the ancient Greek pottery oil container with one or two mouths for pouring. Similar pieces were being excavated and studied at the time. The surface decoration is formed by the application of several layers of gold leaf, one of more than a dozen new techniques perfected by Buzzi that radically changed the appearance of the glass produced at Venini.

This is an apparently unique piece of glass – one shown at the Triennale di Milano del 1933 and again as part of the exhibition Tomaso Buzzi at Venini, held in Venice in 2014-15, when it was notified as an ‘object of important cultural interest’.

As this meant it could not leave Italian soil – only Italian buyers were invited to bid for it at Il Ponte Casa de Aste.

Guided at €18,000-25,000, it sold at €50,000 (£43,100).