Archimede Seguso was born in Murano on December 17th 1909.
Just eleven years old, Archimede draws into artistic glassmaking and forges his extraordinary manual ability reproducing 18th century glassware. Extremely capable in working both by light and in furnace, he becomes a master as he turns twenty, standing out also in the recently introduced production of heavy glass. He begins to express himself through the glass and becomes “first-rate master”, from then on the key man inside the furnace.
In his family factory, he hires Vittorio Zecchin first and then Flavio Poli, two great designers. He develops his innate talent in massive sculpture, creating works to expose at the pre-war Venice Biennale. We can mention the animals, the in the round figure of the boxer “Primo Carnera” (1934), the portrait of his future wife (1937) and the thick ‘bubbling submerged glass’ or ‘golden spred’, ‘corroded’ or ‘ iridescent’ as “The Zodiac” (1935).
In 1946, Archimede reaches his complete artistic freedom as he founds his atelier “Vetreria Seguso Archimede”. And exactly during this period of post-war reconstruction, he conquers Italy thanks to his chandeliers, highly demanded. Then, he creates a strong partnership with the distributor Alberto Sciolari, till Alberto’s premature death.
He decorates cinemas, theatres, hotels, public offices and churches with sparkling creations.
He becomes a prominent figure for the glassmaking world, in Murano and worldwide as well, attentive to trends and trend setter at the same time. He crates the ‘ribbed’, the ‘ringed’ (1948), the ‘needle-formed’, the ‘golden opaques’, the ‘nudes in black and iridescent crystal’(1949).
The 1950s are years of research and technical innovation in glass working, such as the ‘laces’ (1952) and the ‘feathers’ (1956).; in colour study, important and recurrent element in his works, as the ’golden coral’, the ‘untied ribbon’, the ‘zigzag’, the ‘lozenges’, the ‘amber green spots’, the ‘golden ivory’, the ‘submerged’ and the ‘alabasters’.
In 1952, Archimede Seguso and Giuseppe Santomaso create a series of colourfull handles for telephone boxes doors, prelude of the huge panel realized in the Ice Stadium at Cortina d’Ampezzo in occasion of the Winter Olympic Games 1956.
In the 60s he keeps on producing his glasss masterpieces, appreciated worlwide and still sought after by collectors today. We mention the ‘continuous threads’(1962), the ‘Aleanti’ (1966), the ‘ colours and superimposed bands’, the ‘starred filigree’ and the ‘onions’ (in threads _ 1968).
In this period, he also produces chandeliers composed by separate elements. The ‘Optical’ are 1972. He attends many Venice Biennale and Milan Triennale, and many more.
However, Archimede pursues his passion for massive sculpture: he creates works such as ‘Head of a sleeping woman’ (1971), deeply connected to the high relief ‘Sleeping woman sitting on a bench’ (1951), ‘Bud ‘ and ‘Double Eclipse’ (1986), ‘Head of child’ (1972) and ‘Women’s head with hair in the wind’.
In 1982, he attends the exhibition ‘A thousand years of glassmaking in Venice’ at Palazzo Grassi and Correr Museum, presenting several sculptures. We must remind ‘Christ deposed’, a magnificent sculpture where even the empty space create a form. Today, it’s preserved at Museo della Basilica di San Marco. Another important sculpture, ‘Nativity’ (1983), is at S.Stefano Church.
In 1989 Save Venice Organization honours him with a personal exhibition in New York called ‘Master of Masters’, at Tiffany & Co. In 1990, the Otaru Museum in Japan sets another personal exhibition, followed in 1991 by ‘The glasswork of Archimede Seguso’. Hosted by the City of Venice, Palazzo Ducale opens its doors to the work of an artist just for this special occasion. The exhibition has a clamorous success, so that its closing is extended twice.
Interested in contingent events, in 1992 he creates ‘My Europe’, a blue obelisk in blown glass more than two meters high, exposed in Luxembourg and in Liege. More recent Is the ‘Breaking’ cycle (1994-95), where the mass breaks and separates, to recreate new forms.
With ‘Arcamede Dorata’, the animals of Archimede’s Arc, at Ca’ dei Carraresi in Treviso he exhibits the works he couldn’t present at Ca’ Pesaro in Venice, during the centenary of the Biennale (1995).
In the last years of his life he focus his inspiration on colour use, as the vases ‘Reflections and Inlays’ (1990), the ‘Carnival’ (1987-89), ‘vases with net motif’ series (1989), ‘Starry Spring’ (1992), ‘Tangled vases’ (1994) with an elaborate branch theme and the ‘Green Serenella 18’ (1996). In the abovementioned ‘Arcamede Dorata’ he proves his youth ability when he was called the Master of Animals; and in the ‘Fenice vases’ series, completely different one from the other for form and colour, he describes and expresses perfectly the tragic fire at the Venetian theatre: he lived this event personally because he witnessed it ten meters away, terrified that the flames could reach his house.
Archimede Seguso passed away peacefully on September 6th, 1999 saying that he would have create his chandeliers for Heaven.
He was an illustrious figure in Murano glassmaking and a reference point for the other artists.
Shy and extremely brilliant, the Master always highlighted that his artistic growth occurred without following any model, without pursuing celebrity, but only with his will to evolve and express himself through creations and methods never used before.
That’s the kind of man Archimede Seguso was, still sitting on his bench at the age of ninety, in his furnace, happy of his great life.
Nowadays, many museums all over the world exhibit his works, many houses has his lamps, many people preserve his memory.
On Marzo 2012, Vetreria Artistica Archimede Seguso keeps on producing artistic chandeliers and objects, following his example. His son Gino coordinates and gives support to the new masters and students.
Our desire is to keep Seguso’s skills alive, so that the constant renewal can join up the tradition.