Project Description

The Barry Friedman Gift
Museo del Vetro, Murano, Venice

location
Museo del Vetro, Murano, Venice

donors
Barry Friedman;
Venetian Heritage

date
September 2016

cost
€ 685,000.00

Barry Friedman always derived great Joy discovering beautiful and interesting works of art, particularly glass – from his first small Loetz vase in 1966 to the work of the superbly talented contemporary artists displayed here. With his first piece of glass, it became his pleasure and vocation to deal in glass art by notable artists including Gallé, Loetz and Tiffany. In the early 1970s, he started to collect and then to sell Symbolist and Pre-Raphaelite paintings of Gustav Moreau, Khnopff, Hodler, Rossetti, Burne-Jones, and more. In the late 1960s he was one of the first American art dealers of Art Déco, including the paintings of Tamara de Lempicka. The 1983 seminal exhibition, From MackIntosh to Mollino: Fifty Years of Chair Design received critical acclaim from New York to Tokyo and earned Friedman the nickname “The Chair Man.” Other landmark exhibitions presented by Barry Friedman Ltd. included: Fernand Khnopff and the Belgian Avant-garde (1983); The Bauhaus: Masters & Students (1987); Gerrit Rietveld: A Centenary Exhibition (1988); Tamara de Lempicka (1983 & 1996); and Design Italian Style (furniture of Carlo Mollino and Carlo Graffi and Italian vintage glass from Murano, 1997). More recently in 2009, Venice: 3 Visions in Glass originated at the gallery and traveled to four museums in the U.S. and Europe. In the 1980s, Friedman began collecting avant-garde photography leading to his partnership with Edwynn Houk in the Houk Friedman Gallery. There he exhibited the vintage photography of such greats as Man Ray, Lissitzky, Moholy-Nagy, and Rodchenko, as well as the contemporary work of Lynn Davis, and Sally Mann (the first living artist he had ever worked with). Alongside this partnership, Friedman began collecting Italian glass from the 1900s to the1950s. “At the same time, at Barry Friedman Ltd.,” says Friedman, “I started showing the work of French designers of the 1940s and 50s including Jean Prouvé, Serge Mouille and André Arbus. I also became quite involved with Cubist, Constructivist and Neue Sachlichkeit paintings. In the mid-1990s, I returned to my love of art glass when I was introduced to the contemporary work of Michael Glancy, which led to the discovery of Italian glass artists Laura de Santillana and Cristiano Bianchin, and the unique vision of the Japanese artist Yoichi Ohira who worked in Murano.” In 2000, Friedman revisited his Art Déco roots when he opened Friedman & Vallois on Madison Avenue with his good friends and colleagues, Bob and Cheska Vallois, of Galerie Vallois, Paris. “Discovering the works of Ettore Sottsass and Ron Arad with my then director, Marc Benda, led to our partnership in the Friedman Benda Gallery in 2007, which represents landmark designers such as Wendell Castle, Joris Laarman, and a new generation of young designers, painters and photographers.” In 2016 Barry Friedman donated his important collection of Italian glass to Venetian Heritage Inc. The collection is composed of two-hundred objects and is a witness to Muranese taste for glass art from the beginning of the nineteenth century until the 1960s. Fulvio Bianconi, Tomaso Buzzi, Napoleone Martinuzzi, Carlo Scarpa, Archimede Seguso, Ermanno Toso, Paolo Venini and Vittorio Zecchin are some of the artists who created important glass works that make up this extraordinary collection. Venetian Heritage has generously put the Friedman Collection on permanent display at the Museo del Vetro on Murano.