Modern Living: Giò Ponti and the 20th-Century Aesthetics of Design

Giò Ponti (Italian, 1891–1979) and Paolo De Poli (Italian, 1905–1996) Horse, ca.  1956.  Enameled copper and silver.  8 x 16 x 4 inches.  Courtesy of Casati Gallery
Giò Ponti (Italian, 1891–1979) and Paolo De Poli (Italian, 1905–1996) Horse, ca. 1956. Enameled copper and silver. 8 x 16 x 4 inches. Courtesy of Casati Gallery
  • Giò Ponti (Italian, 1891–1979) Scrolled chair from the Contini Bonacossi residence, Florence, 1931.  Made by Mario Quarti.  Italian walnut and leather, 35 3/8 x 19 1/4 x 18 1/2 inches.  Private collection

    Giò Ponti (Italian, 1891–1979) Scrolled chair from the Contini Bonacossi residence, Florence, 1931. Made by Mario Quarti. Italian walnut and leather, 35 3/8 x 19 1/4 x 18 1/2 inches. Private collection

  • Giò Ponti (Italian, 1891–1979) Display cabinet, model 2140, 1951.  Made by Singer & Sons Italian walnut, lacquered wood and brass, 79 x 81 x 18 inches Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  Museum purchase funded by the John R.  Eckel Jr.  Foundation, 2016.145.A-B

    Giò Ponti (Italian, 1891–1979) Display cabinet, model 2140, 1951. Made by Singer & Sons Italian walnut, lacquered wood and brass, 79 x 81 x 18 inches Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Museum purchase funded by the John R. Eckel Jr. Foundation, 2016.145.A-B

In the history of 20th-century design, Giò Ponti (1891–1979) is widely recognized as the father of modern Italian design. Over the span of a remarkably prolific career of nearly 60 years, Ponti created important works of architecture (including the first skyscraper in Italy), furniture, decorative art and industrial products, using both traditional and modern materials and techniques. He participated in Italian and other international design exhibitions and served as the editor of and frequent contributor to the magazines Domus and Stile. Through these venues, he promoted new concepts of modern living and improved public taste through examples of his own work and that of his contemporaries in Europe and the United States.

Ponti actively supported Italian traditions of craftsmanship, promoting the artistic design of industrial products and helping the country modernize its manufacturing processes. He was a talented artist and original thinker who endlessly sought to create objects that balanced equilibrium, harmony, clarity and beauty.

The Georgia Museum of Art exhibition, Modern Living: Giò Ponti and the 20th-Century Aesthetics of Design, on view now through Sept. 17, 2017, presents more than 50 objects, representing some of Ponti’s most outstanding pieces of furniture and decorative objects from the beginning of his career in the 1920s through the 1950s, borrowed from American museums and private collections. The museum has also published a fully illustrated exhibition catalogue, the first major work in English on Ponti's career. The Curator is Perri Lee Roberts, University of Miami.

 

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