PIETRO MELANDRI

Faenza - ITALY, 1885 - 1976

Pietro Melandri is paramount artist in the panorama of Italian 20th century ceramics. Melandri’s ceramics continue to be the most sought after and collected. He was trained, still very young, at the Minardi Brothers’ Manufactory, where stoneware, salted or casted glazes and metallic lustres were experimented with. At the same time, he joined the “Baccarini Circle” and tried to succeed as a painter. In 1919, together with Paolo Zoli, the Melandri and Zoli workshop was started. From 1922 to 1931 he was the artistic director of ‘Focaccia and Melandri’, realizing commercial pieces, imitations of antiques and personal objects with a consolidated technical mastery (lustre in primis) and with decorations unaffected by the trends of the moment. His cooperation with Francesco Nonni continued and a new one with Gio Ponti began. He exhibited in Florence in 1924, in Monza and in Paris in 1925, and also in other major galleries and at the Triennale in Milan. In 1932 he opened his workshop-home in Faenza. In 1933, he was given a personal exhibition room at the 5th Triennale in Milan. He realized a series of sculptures which were to make him renowned: Venere moderna [Modern Venus] in 1933 for the Motta bakery in Milan, Perseo e la Medusa [Perseus and the Medusa] in 1936 for the Triennale, Mito di Orfeo e Euridice [The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice] in 1938 for the Eliseo Theatre in Rome, the panels for the Cassa di Risparmio bank in Imola in 1942-43. He was awarded the first prize at the first National Ceramic Competition in Faenza and achieved the same the following year with the work Angelo annunciante [Announcing Angel]. During the post-war period he was commissioned for other significant works, such as the decoration of the Cinema Metropolitan in Bologna (1948), the panels and sculptures for some cruise ships(Biancamano, Conte Grande and Giulio Cesare), the panels for the Hotel Bauer in Venice (1956), the Liberty war memorial in the Cemetery in Faenza and the panels for the bar of the Albergo Roma in Bologna (1957-59) which leaves us a message of technical perfection and a hymn to beauty and free imagination.