Q: I have had this giant Murano fish (it’s 17 by 14 inches) for more than 20 years. I believe this sculpture is by Loredano Rosin, but I am not positive because the Rosin brothers (Loredano and Dino) usually made sculptures of people. The piece is signed “L. Rosin.” Please help me find out if it is authentic and what the value might be.
A: This piece poses some problems because anyone with a diamond point pen can sign any name they want on a piece of glass with great ease. We would hate to speculate how many fake “Tiffany” signatures are out there, many of which were inscribed using a diamond point pen.
Perhaps we should begin by examining the fact that this is a “Murano fish.” Murano is a collection of seven small islands linked by bridges in the Venetian Lagoon, and it is a place where glass has been made for centuries. Specifically, in 1271, all the glass makers working in Venice were forced to move to Murano to reduce the risk of fire within the main city.
For a time, Murano was the leading European producer of glass (chandeliers, mirrors, beads), but decline in this industry began in the 18th century. Today, the glass industry is still working on the island making chandeliers and mirrors, but art glass and glass sculptures have become very important since the end of World War II.
We had a great deal of trouble finding reliable biographical information about Loredano Rosin (1936-1992), but from his autobiography we are told that he was from a family that had been glass workers — presumably on Murano — for generations.
Rosin describes his training in his autobiography and states that at one point he had his own glass shop with his brother, Micro, that we believe was called “Artvet.” That is according to the biography of Dino Rosin, Loredano and Micro’s brother. However, Dino’s information states that the family did not actually move to Murano until mid-1948.
Basically, Micro was the business and organizational part of the operation while Loredano was the glass master who trained young Dino (1948 to present) in the craft. In 1965, Loredano left Artvet to join Fucina Degli Angeli (”The Forge of the Angels”) to work with such modern masters as Picasso, Chagall, Jean Cocteau, Le Corbusier and others, and Dino went along to work with his brother.
Unfortunately, Loredano Rosin was killed in a boating accident in 1992 (one source said 1991), and today, Dino carries on the family art. It is true that both Loredano and Dino made a lot of human figure sculptures but we found Loredano images of a horse and a predatory cat, while Dino has done turtles, dolphins and cobras.
These all tend to be rather large tabletop sculptures that can be up to two feet or more long or tall. Most are signed, some are not, and some just were marked with paper labels. We found a reference that may or may not be accurate that at one time Loredano Rosin was a glass master for Salviati & Co., which was established in Murano in 1859, and this company often used paper labels that were easily removable.
As for values, Loredano Rosin’s works often sell at auction in the $1,000 to $1,500, but we did find a retail (gallery) value for one of his horse heads at $9,500. For more certain authentication of this sculpture contact Martha Hewitt Galleries in Cincinnati, Heritage Auctions in Dallas, or DuMochelles in Detroit.
Write to Joe Rosson, P.O. Box 27419, Knoxville, TN 37927, or email email@example.com. If you'd like your question to be considered for the column, please include a high-resolution photo of the subject, which must be in focus.