Italian Gilded MCM Art Pottery Bowl
Ugo Zaccagnini was an Italian ceramicist in Florence whose art pottery became famous worldwide. When he passed away in 1937, his son Urbano took over management of the firm and changed the name of the company to "Società Anonima Ceramiche Zaccagnini" (Ceramic Joint-stock Companies Zaccagnini). Their new logo, shown on the bottom of this beautiful bowl, was their iconic "squiggly Z," an incised letter Z with a wavy line through it and the word Italy incised under it. The line through the Z purportedly represented Monte Oliveto (Mount Olive), which Ugo viewed from his office window each day. The cypher dates the bowl to the years 1937-1958.
The design of this oval bowl, an elegantly simple modernist form decorated with gilded grapes, represents a 1950's dilemma: Italian designers, like those in other countries, were torn between nostalgia for the "old days" (the gilded grapes) and the desire for modernism (the swooping shape). "Scandinavian Design" became the label for this style and in the 1950s Zaccagnini produced a line called "Swedish;" this bowl is part of that line. You can see the aesthetic shared by the bowl and the Rosenthal vase designed by Danish artist Bjørn Wiinblad shown in our next to last photo.
This bowl measures 10 inches long, and is slightly asymmetrical, with one end 2 3/4 inches high and the other 3 inches high. Made of a tan clay, it's covered with a slightly off-white glaze with some glaze pops on the upper rim and glaze misses on the underside. There are no chips, flea bites or cracks and the gold is in very good condition.
This mid century Italian bowl by Zaccagnini is a decorative delight.