A rare Gio Ponti for Richard-Ginori painted and glazed earthenware vase/lamp: Le Mie Terre
1928 signed in underglaze Ginori/1175 Gioponti/1928 height of vase 12 1/2in (30.5cm), overall height 14in (35.5cm)
Born in Milan in 1891, Gio Ponti is revered as one of Italy's most influential renaissance men of the 20th century. An architect, poet, teacher, painter, graphic artist, costume designer, set designer for La Scala opera house, founder of Domus magazine, and industrial designer, Ponti realized his visions in a variety of mediums. Throughout his professional life he collaborated with some of his country's most creative designers and firms such as Piero Fornasetti, Venini, Cassina, Artemide, and Fontana Arte, but it is his work at Richard-Ginori, the ceramics manufacturer, from 1923-1938 that launched his career and cemented his name as a great talent and believer that craft is the true basis for design.
One of Ponti's seminal creations, which he designed in 1928 while serving as Artistic Director for Richard-Ginori, is Le Mie Terre vase. No less than eight variant models of this work were introduced and each, no matter its size, was globe-shaped and decorated about the entire body with a map of the world. Some had blue backgrounds representing the oceans and seas, while others were glazed in green. Some featured a raised band around the circumference delineating the equator, while others were merely flat. Some featured the depiction of the continents with just the land's name while others were more elaborately marked with the individual nations chromatically highlighted. Le Mie Terre became one of the firm's most lasting wares. However, it was originally conceived as a table lamp and as a collection piece. The lot on offer is a very early example and a rarer version than typically seen or published. Endowed with iconography conjuring up the lore and allure of each land and body of water, including skyscrapers, the Eiffel Tower, a redskin Indian head, the hammer and sickle, dolphins, merchant ships, a sombrero hat and even a lumbering elephant indigenous to India, the work embodies the fertile and fanciful mind of its genius designer. , Literature: Loris Manna, Gio Ponti Le Maioliche, Biblioteca de via Senato Edizioni, 2000, pp. 210-215 for discussion and illustrations of similar models.