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Piero Fornasetti

Piero Fornasetti (1913-1988) was born in Milan and lived most of his life there. He was an Italian painter, sculptor, decorator, and craftsman who used ornamental and pictorial motifs to decorate silk scarves, furniture, plates, vessels, and similar objects. He studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera (where he was later expelled for insubordination) and the Castello Sforzesco school. During World War II, he was expelled again—this time from Italy altogether—and went on to develop as an artist in Switzerland from 1943 to 1946.

He used an educational grant to travel to Africa—a trip that opened up the world and benefitted him more than any schooling could. Piero learned more about different engraving and printing techniques. As a result, he invented a printing method which allowed him to obtain unique graphic effects on silk.

When he returned to Milan from Africa, one of his first projects was the painting of silk scarves, which caught the attention of Italian architect Gio Ponti. It was the beginning of a long and productive partnership as Fornasetti and Ponti collaborated on numerous projects in the following years. Fornasetti’s work was influenced by Greek and Roman architecture, surrealism, and metaphysical art. Most of Fornasetti’s works included individual pieces, but he also contributed to the modern design culture. Throughout his successful career, Piero Fornasetti created over 13,000 unique art pieces.