moma has it wrong, and has for 72 years!

has been 
bugging me
 for a LONG while,
and now that I have a forum where 10 people 
will listen 
to what I have to say,
 rather than the one 
unlucky soul 
who happens to walk into the design department with me,
I finally get to say my piece....

See those "ashtrays" above and below?

has been saying,
 since 1938,
 that there were designed by 
Paulo Venini.

that's not correct. 

The company Paulo Venini co-founded 
produced them,
but they were designed by 
Carlo Scarpa.
Actually this one is wrong too....

 Scarpa book....

And on the other side of the case?
Another mistake.
This one has only been going on for
54 years...
MoMA says these were designed by 
Paulo too.
Gio Ponti designed this series.

I'm not a fan 
of trusting what 
auction houses 
say a lot of the time,
but Christie's got it right here,
Gio Ponti
designed this vase
and the 

Maybe if I wasn't such a big fan of both
I could let it slide,
but these are guys are icons, rock stars
of the design world.
They deserve credit where credit is due!

I'm sure there are mistakes in other departments 
but since my business is design,
I'll stop here with my investigative reporting.

if you know anyone over at 
in the department 
Architecture and Design,
tell them to break-out their label maker....

I feel so much better....

Please see the comments for some
exciting news!

I felt like my
Gio Ponti
evidence wasn't deep enough,
so I added this:


  1. p.- your miss marpling around design pieces reveals the truth about them at last and helps potential collection beginners and profs.
    "era of" ,"circle of" auboeck in auctions and the ebay trash cart are constantly driving me nuts.
    people spend a lot of money to carry these ghosts home.
    feeling alright until they invite you for a fine dinner there , you arrive and tell the truth about their new aquisitions..

  2. Bravo seconded - kinda reminds me about the time I called Wright modern to tell them their
    pair of Van Keppel chairs were actually Pier 1 mombasa chairs from 10 years previously.(reissued with less pleasing caning and lines this year)http://www.pier1.com/Catalog/Furniture/tabid/519/List/0/CategoryID/158/level/a/ProductID/6671/ProductName/Mombasa-Chair/Default.aspx

    Here they are wrongly attributed again. Unless Pier 1 ripped them off (then egg on my face)

    Here are the new ones at Pier 1

  3. p.-what kept me awake:
    your statement about designers are icons or rockstars..
    i thought who might ponti resemble as a rockstar.. rod stewart, jagger ,joan jett? or more clapton,joey ramone..?
    with scarpa it is even harder to imagine..
    these two weren't that kind of "rampensau" a rockstar should be - icons in every way ok- they were not part of a band but single so remind me more of schubert , satie , mozart or thelonious..?

  4. You're absolutely right, *Paulo* Venini did not design these!

  5. Hello, MoMA here. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. MoMA's collection is a very human and therefore fallible endeavor, especially when you go back decades (as in this case). We find surprises--often good ones--and mistakes every step of the way, and we welcome help from the outside.

    This is a fascinating issue you've raised, and we're looking into it. A quick search here has already turned up a hand-written letter from Paolo Venini, dated 1953, specifically claiming that HE was the designer of the ashtray. The question of proper attribution for these works clearly merits further research, and we are on the case. You might be seeing new labels soon.
    - A&D Study Center, MoMA

  6. MoMA,
    Thanks for looking into this! I know it is a minor thing when you put it into context, but also very important when you consider your role as THE expert in all things design. I'm not surprised about Paolo's note either, the Italians are very proud, and to own the company would (almost) be like (in his mind) designing the piece! Also, maybe there was something that was lost in translation? I'm sure you have this covered, but if you need any additional reference material on either of the "disputed" entries I would be glad to provide it. Very Best, Patrick Parrish