about Piero Fornasetti

PIERO FORNASETTI (1913 - 1988)

Piero Fornasetti was born in Milan on November 10, 1913. Throughout his life Fornasetti was a wayward and unconventional artist and man. In 1930 Piero Fornasetti received a scholarship from the “Accademia di Belle Arti “, but in 1932 he was kicked out again. Due to disobedience and rebelliousness his painting studies were already terminated at the age of 19.

Nevertheless, Piero Fornasetti continued to work as a painter in Milan and in 1933 he took part in the Triennial. The designer Gio Ponti was quite impressed by Fornasetti´s designs of painted silk scarves and therefore Piero Fornasetti worked with him in a close cooperation for the following years. At that time Gio Ponti was the editor of the design magazine “Domus”, in which he presented some of Piero Fornasetti´s works, who then designed some covers for the magazine.

Later on Ponti and Fornasetti designed a furniture series together: it was called “Architettura” and consisted of pieces of furniture designed by Gio Ponti with graphically decorated surfaces by Piero Fornasetti. The series was displayed at the Triennial in Milan in 1951.

The graphic designing of furniture surfaces and other objects was Fornasetti´s trademark throughout his life. Suns, clocks, musical instruments and especially the face of one woman which appears again and again were processed by Piero Fornasetti in different black-and-white graphics: “What inspired me to design 500 different versions of one woman’s face? I have no idea: I started with it and then never stopped again!”  

Fornasetti found the face of this woman in an old magazine from the 19th century. He used it for the first time for the series "Temi et Variazioni". Since then it has appeared on countless vases, porcelain plates, pieces of furniture, etc. in endless variations. And it can still be bought in Piero Fornasetti´s shop in Milan which he opened in 1970. There you can also get many other playful and imaginative designs of Fornasetti.

In 1980 Giuliana Medda (the mother of gorgeous Ambra Medda – founder of Design Miami) opened the design galery Themes and Variations in London and revived the interest in Fornasetti’s work.

Piero Fornasetti died in Milan in 1988.