EARLY UGO ZACCAGNINI CHINOISERIE VASE WITH CHERRY BLOSSOMS
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A vintage 1930s Ming style ceramic vase with a cherry blossom relief decor in shades of blue and brown, designed by Ugo Zaccagnini for Ugo Zaccagnini & Figli, Italy.
Ugo Zaccagnini passed away in 1937 at the age of 69. His firm’s overall management became the responsibility of his second eldest son, Urbano Zaccagnini (1901-1964), and its name was changed to Società Anonima Ceramiche Zaccagnini. A new logo was created —a capital "Z" with a squiggly line through it meant to represent Monte Oliveto. Urbano Zaccagnini immediately set about changing the company’s direction. With the help of entrepreneur Aristide Loria, he modernized production technology and enlarged capacity. Urbano Zaccagnini serving as artistic director, ZACCAGNINI collaborated on designs with new artists: Mario Bandini, Ottorino Palloni, Maurizio Tempestini, Gino Pozzi, renowned ceramist Leopold Anzengruber, majolica painter U. Ciardella, sculptor L. Contini, and Fosco Martini. The factory’s production focused almost exclusively on decorative wares at this time. A line of very popular animal figurines and graceful women in the Art Deco style was developed, and the company began to export its products, with North America as the primary target. Ties with American importers were cultivated, Zaccagnini personally making numerous trips to meet with American clients face to face. ZACCAGNINI figurines began appearing in stores such as Tiffany’s. In 1938 Zaccagnini obtained a license from Walt Disney Productions to create, in clay, Disney Studios' famous animated characters. The fame of the ZACCAGNINI name in the US was thus ensured. Mario Bandini had quickly modeled Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, produced for sale at the Italian national preview of the feature at the Cinema Teatro Verdi (owned by former SIFMA partner Egisto Fantechi). Though expensive, all available pieces sold out immediately. All were personally signed by Zaccagnini and marked "W1."
ZACCAGNINI would eventually produce more than 150 Disney figurines—the likes of Donald Duck, Pluto, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan—all in a special crystalline glaze secretly made in its factory. The firm also created Disney salt-and-pepper shakers, children’s plates, cups, mugs, and other assorted Disneyana; some figurines today command prices in the thousands of dollars. Inactive during WWII, ZACCAGNINI reopened in 1945. In 1947 it was commissioned to manufacture reproductions of ancient ceramics for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. ZACCAGNINI reached peak production in the late '40s and '50s, during which time many simpler Modernist-inspired ceramic works were produced, as well as an abstraction-inspired line called 'Svedese' (Swedish). In 1950 several ZACCAGNINI ceramics were exhibited in the Italian Crafts Exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. In the US, much of the work from this period was likened to the "Hollywood Regency" style, then en vogue. It combined classical and modernist traits with more opulent decorative flourishes. By now, ZACCAGNINI was exporting all over the world and fast becoming collectible.
Pietro, Zaccagnini's older brother, died in 1954. In 1958, after twenty years of successful leadership, Urbano left the company to open his own ceramics studio, Urbano Zaccagnini Ceramiche Artistiche. He passed away in 1964, as did his younger brother Prisco the following year. This left the company to the sisters Adele and Enrichetta and Ugo Zaccagnini's grandchildren. It continued to operate, but much of its former luster had been lost. In the 1980s, the firm turned exclusively to the production of ceramic bases for high-end lamp manufacturers. Many of these were created using Art Nouveau and Art Deco molds from the '30s and '40s. They often bear the Zaccagnini signature and command premium prices. ZACCAGNINI closed its doors in 2000, but many family members have since opened their own studios in and around Florence.
- 5.75ʺW × 5.75ʺD × 14.75ʺH
- Ugo Zaccagnini
- Place of Origin
- Item Type
- Vintage, Antique or Pre-owned
- Very Good Condition, Original Condition Unaltered, No Imperfections
- Condition Notes
- Excellent Vintage Condition