Born in Florence on October 1, 1915, Marcello Fantoni registered at the Institute of Art at Porta Romana in 1927 to attend the course The Art of Ceramics, which at that time was taught by the ceramist Carlo Guerrini, artistic director of the Cantagalli factory. Other teachers also contributed to his artistic formation including Libero Andreotti and Bruno Innocenti in sculpture and Gianni Vagnetti in the figure. He graduated in ’34 as a ‘maestro’ of art, and began working as a ceramist. In 1936, after having worked for a few months as the artistic director of a factory in Perugia, he established himself in the stables of Villa Fabbricotti in Florence and established the Fantoni Ceramic studio. Its production of serial and unique pieces had remarkable success at the Florentine Arts and Crafts Exhibit in ’37, revealing itself in line with the most recent tendencies, so much so that at the beginning of hostilities his production had already received notable artistic and commercial attention in Italy and abroad. After the war years, when Fantoni was involved in the resistance, in ’46 he began the creative and productive fervor that will allow him to enlarge his company, reaching at the beginning of the next decade the impressive size of over fifty collaborators. Among his employees there were many students who, in ceramics and other fields, would become excellent artisans and even famous artists. In the following decades, especially between ’50 and ’70, the success of his work continued to increase, his unique pieces of sculpture and vascular formations, characterized by a design in step with the contemporary artistic currents, like archaic stylization inspired by Etruscan models, rendered modern because of their modern handling of materials, glazes and colors. For this original spirit of modernity, his works entered in private collections and in the most important museums of the world: in the United States his works can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum of Fine Art of Boston, the Currier Gallery, the Syracuse Museum. In Britain they are in the Victoria and Albert Museum of London, the City Art Gallery of Manchester, at Royal Scottish Museum of Edinburg. In Japan they are present at the Museum of Modern Art of Tokyo and Kyoto. In Italy they are represented at the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, the National Bargello Museum and at the Gabinetto Disegni e Stampe of the Uffizi. In his long and versatile career, Fantoni has completed works for churches, public and private buildings, schools, cinemas, theaters and ships cementing himself in both figurative and abstract ceramics and various metals, and qualifying himself also in the field of medalism. Marcello Fantoni dies in Florence in 2011.
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