Born the son of a Murano glassblower, Vittorio Zecchin would go on to become one of the most influential Venetian artists and designers of the 20th century. Initially working as a painter in the Italian Liberty (Art Nouveau) style, Zecchin’s sensitivity to international art, combined with his love for traditional Venetian craftsmanship and design, would have a lasting influence on 20th century art-glass in Venice and beyond.
After graduating from the Venetian Academy of Fine Arts in 1901, Zecchin initially decided against a career as an artist, believing that the conservative Venetian establishment would not understand or accept his work. Instead he became civil servant in Murano and did not publicly exhibit his paintings until 1908, when a number of young Venetian artists had formed the Ca’ Pessaro group. Zecchin joined the group and by 1914 he had become one of its most influential members.
Zecchin first designed art glass in collaboration with fellow painter Teodoro Wolf-Ferrari in 1913. These Vetro Mosaico vases and plaques were executed in a style influenced by the Viennese Secession and were exhibited at the Biennale of 1914 where they were met with great critical success. Today these works are considered masterpieces of early modern design.
In 1916 Zecchin established a workshop on the island of Murano for the production of artistic tapestries. In 1921, he was hired as artistic director of the newly established Venini Cappellin company and designed what many consider to be the first truly modern glass works produced on Murano, including the famous Veronese vase which is still used as the symbol of the company today.
Throughout the 1920s and 1930s Zecchin, designed and produced furniture, jewelry, ceramics, tapestries, silverware, mosaics and glass, all of which were exhibited at the Venice Biennale and the Triennale of Monza. Zecchin also continued to evolve as a painter and completed numerous large scale works in oil and tempera during this period.
By the end of the 1930s, Zecchin contributed a number of significant designs to important Murano glass companies including MVM Cappellin, Artistica Barovier, A.V.E.M. and S.A.L.I.R. A galvanizing figure in 20th century Murano glass, Zecchin’s influence can still be felt today.