Last year, Italy's Cambi Casa d'Aste had incredible results for Murano glass, including new record prices. This month, Murano returns to auction.
In June of last year Cambi's sale entitled "Murano 1890-1990, a century of glass art" surprised the market with incredible results as many pieces exceeded their pre-sale estimate.
On 21st February, almost 200 pieces of Murano glass will be going under the hammer, with previews taking place from February 17 to 20.
Glass has a long tradition with Venice, stretching back to the Middle Ages. Venetian glassblowers, although still residents of Venice, were moved to the nearby Murano Islands in 1295 due to the ongoing fire hazards they brought to Venice.
It was from the workshops of Murano that glassmaking became a triumph in Europe. Murano glass was most popular during the Renaissance period. The glass designs became synonymous with the upper classes, with glass works appearing in Still Life paintings of the period.
Barovier & Toso, one of the earliest workshops dating back to 1295, are still in production today.
The production of glasses was subject to strict secrecy. Any glassblowers who compromised the secrecy of the craft were even threatened with the death penalty. Due to emigration the secrets of the Murano glassblowers did inevitably reach the Alps. By the 18th century, thanks to the the invention of cut glass, for objects such as mirrors, Bohemia, Silesia and Germany were all producing glass works.
In the 19th century, Murano experienced an upswing due to a trend for historicism. Work derivative of the Renaissance glassblowers was popular, so much so that the Museo Del Vetro opened in Venice, drawing attention to the thousand year history of glassmaking.
Out of this antique art form, new decorative arts were created. The Millefiori of the Art Nouveau period and designers such as Paolo Venini and Ercole Barovier were all inspired by the splendor of Venice's glass history.