Fornasetti - Practical Madness
A new evaluation of one of the most inventive designers of the twentieth century
Piero Fornasetti was a master of the decorative imagination. His motifs conjure up the illusionism of Arcimboldo, the grand architectural fantasies of Piranesi and Palladio, and something of the wit of Pirandello or even Picasso. Fornasetti’s decorations transform furniture, created in collaboration with Gio Ponti, into art objects touched by trompe l’oeil humour. His designs endure in an astonishing variety of forms: chairs, desks, screens, pianos, plates, masks and other objects all present the artist’s timeless vocabulary.
Fornasetti’s endless invention is celebrated here in a book published to coincide with a major retrospective exhibition in Paris. His visual puns and decorative devices are set out in the context of his paintings, little considered until now.
Bibliophilia occupies centre stage, with graphic schemes, designs for imaginary libraries and bookcases set in ironic interiors. The book gathers a plentiful array of his famous 'Themes and Variations', a series of plate designs drawing on over 500 variations on the face of a famous operatic beauty.
A full chronology of Fornasetti’s life and work accompanies the text.
Patrick Mauriès is a writer, publisher and collector. He is the author of Fornasetti: Designer of Dreams and Cabinets of Curiosities.