Cabinet

1951 (made)
Cabinet thumbnail 1
Cabinet thumbnail 2
+1
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

In Italy this type of cabinet was known as a trumó or trumeau. Its origins can be traced back to the 1700s. Piero Fornasetti's unique style of decoration has transformed Gio Ponti's modern version into a striking piece of furniture. The technique used to make it was unusual. Lithographs were created for each section, printed on to transfer sheets, and then applied to fibreboard panels. These were fitted to the cabinet and varnished. Fornasetti's trompe-l'oeil schemes were inspired by 16th century Italian Mannerist art as well as by 20th century Surrealism. (Trompe-l'oeil is a French term meaning 'trick of the eye'.) They were based on his knowledge of printed books and engravings, rather than the observation of real buildings.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Cabinet
  • Keys
  • Shelf
Materials and Techniques
Fibreboard with applied lithograph transfers
Style
Gallery Label
SECRETAIRE Designed by Gio Ponti (Italian 1891-1979) Decorated by Piero Fornasetti (Italian, 1913-1988) Screen-printed wood-fibre board (masonite) on laminated and solid wood, varnished 1949 Fornasetti was secretive about his decorative techniques, in an attempt to thwart imitators. He created lithographs of his designs, which were printed onto transfer sheets and then applied to each section of the furniture. Colour was added later, as was a varnish, which has yellowed with age on this example. W.21-1983
Historical context
Exhibited at the 9th Triennale, Milan, 1951.
Summary
In Italy this type of cabinet was known as a trumó or trumeau. Its origins can be traced back to the 1700s. Piero Fornasetti's unique style of decoration has transformed Gio Ponti's modern version into a striking piece of furniture. The technique used to make it was unusual. Lithographs were created for each section, printed on to transfer sheets, and then applied to fibreboard panels. These were fitted to the cabinet and varnished. Fornasetti's trompe-l'oeil schemes were inspired by 16th century Italian Mannerist art as well as by 20th century Surrealism. (Trompe-l'oeil is a French term meaning 'trick of the eye'.) They were based on his knowledge of printed books and engravings, rather than the observation of real buildings.
Bibliographic Reference
Wilk, Christopher, ed. . Western Furniture 1350 to the Present Day. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. 230p., ill. ISBN 085667463X.
Collection
Accession Number
W.21&:2, 3-1983

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record createdNovember 28, 2002
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