Decorative Arts and Design
On View: Decorative Art, 4th Floor
Today when we think of where inventive contemporary design is manufactured, we often think of Italy. This, however, was not always the case. Wide acceptance of modern design came somewhat later in Italy than elsewhere, perhaps because of the ever-present conservative influence of the palpable Roman classical past and the slow development of the Italian economy in the twentieth century. To be sure, before World War II there were important modern designers in Italy, foremost Gio Ponti, an architect from Milan whose influence spread beyond his native country through two architecture and design magazines he founded, Domus and Stile. And the Fascist regime of Mussolini in the pre-World War II period did embrace modern architecture, unlike the Nazi regime in Germany, which consciously rejected modernism as a source of foreign, moral corruption. It was not, however, until the post-World War II era, when the Italian economy expanded rapidly, that Italian modern design achieved international recognition.
One pivotal event made consumers in the United States aware of the diversity and accomplishments of modern Italian design—the exhibition Italy at Work, which travelled to twelve venues between 1950 and 1954. The exhibition was initiated by the Art Institute of Chicago in partnership with two organizations devoted to the promulgation of Italian design, Handicraft Development Incorporated in the United States and its corresponding institution in Italy, CADMA. Italy at Work included hundreds of objects by more than 150 artisans and manufacturers and featured furniture, ceramics, glass, textiles, metalwork, jewelry, shoes, knit clothing, and industrial design. The exhibition opened at the Brooklyn Museum, and at its conclusion, when the objects were dispersed among the host institutions, the lion’s share, more than two hundred items, came to the Museum.
In the second half of the twentieth century, Italy became a center for modern design. Many foreigners went there to study and work at small, adventurous firms that produced high-quality objects.
1 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (2.5 x 26 x 26 cm) (show scale)
On bottom, transfer printed in black, on rim: "ALTO/HAUT/TOP [inside scroll pierced by arrow]". On bottom, transfer printed in black, center: "[Leaf]/4/EVA/FORNASETTI . MILANO/MADE IN ITALY"
Gift of the Estate of Jane Adams Breed
Plate, porcelain, of circular dished form, number 4 from the 12-piece "Eva" (Eve) series. Transfer-printed decoration in black on white ground of left knee on diagonally crosshatched ground.
Piero Fornasetti (Italian, 1913-1988). Plate, Eva, ca. 1954. Glazed earthenware, 1 x 10 1/4 x 10 1/4 in. (2.5 x 26 x 26 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Estate of Jane Adams Breed, 2005.37.11. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 2005.37.11_PS2.jpg)
overall, 2005.37.11_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2008
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.