The most beautiful houses are decorated with Fortuny fabrics

Pubblicato: dicembre 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

1 CopertinaI received a gift from the Giudecca’s friends a wonderful book by Brian D. Coleman in which the photos of Erik Kvalsvik illustrate in a great way the beautiful houses decorated with Fortuny  fabrics (Fortuny Interiors, Gibbs Smith, 2012).

Faithfully antique but markedly original“, so marcel Proust, who was an admirer of Fortuny’s creations as were a number of other writers, describes the fabrics and clothes of Mariano Fortuny.

Tende Cimarosa e poltrona a Alberelli.


Glicine in verde e oro nel portego di Ca' Rezzonico.

Glicine at Ca’ Rezzonico.

There is no writer, traveler with passion for beauty, art-loving,  that came to Venice in the golden years before and after the Great War that did not came across Mariano Fortuny. The atmosphere surrounding this personality  fascinated everybody: atmosphere that created the fortune and fame of a man, building up a myth.”

(Giandomenico Romanelli, Mariano Fortuny, Marsilio 1999).

Fortuny/D'Annunzio/Casati-Venise photographies Anciennes 1841-1920

Unknown person/Boldini/Casati-Venise photographies Anciennes 1841-1920. Photography by Mariano Fortuny, 1913.

Mariano Fortuny was born May 11 1871, son of the painter Mariano Fortuny y Marsal. It became apparent at a young age that Fortuny was a talented artiste, as he, too, showed a talent for paintings as well a passion for textiles. During his childhood he was introduced to many different textiles and fabrics, which greatly imprinted upon his creativity and would even dry pieces of material for amusement. The  family moved to Venice in 1889. As a young man, Fortuny traveled throughout Europe seeking out artists he admired, among them the German composer Richard Wagner. Wagnerism was a cultural fashion at the turn of the eighteenth century and Mariano Fortuny was one of the leading protagonists in this field. The exhibition “Fortuny and Wagner” at Fortuny Museum celebrates the bicentenary birth of the composer and displays for the first time Fortuny’s entire Wagnerian cycle, comprising 47 paintings owned by the museum, together with numerous engravings.



Once owned by the Pesaro family, Fortuny Museum is a gothic palazzo in Campo San Beneto, trasformed by Mariano into his own atelier. Mariano buy the building when it was at the top of its decadence and he decided to restore it creating also a well in which he could dry his fabrics. All the colors he was using came from stones and natural elements.

I Pigmenti originali conservati nello Showroom

Fortuny’s original paint pigments are preserved in the  Showroom.

In 1919 Fortuny founded his factory in Giudecca on the ruins of an ancient “camaldolesi” monastery. The Fortuny garden is an integral part of the green heart of Venice.

Thanks to Elsie Lee McNeill, later the countess Gozzi, the cavana of the convent previously located where the Fortuny factory now resides, was transformed into the splendid swimming pool that the amphitheatre of the changing rooms look onto and whose mirrored doors reflect the light and flickering of the water.

Foto del giardino scattata dalla Contessa Gozzi. Archivio Tudy Sammartini.

The Garden. Picture by Contessa Gozzi. Tudy Sammartini’s Archive.

Thanks to the interest of Micky and Maury Riad, the current owners of Fortuny, and to the contribution of the general director Giuseppe Iannò, in October 2011 the need to give the original beauty back to the place was reiterated.

2 Fortuny foto di gruppo

3 foto di gruppo

The task given to Tudy Sammartini, expert in gardens and author of numerous volumes dedicated to the green of the city like Secret Gardens and Verdant Venice; and to Ilaria Forti, architect specialising in restoration of architectural and enivironmental heritage, immediately created a synergy of ideas.

The flowers chosen for the restoration and requalification of the garden recall the fantasies of the bespoke materials.

The symbology of the flowers chosen often recalls the typical characterists of the work of Mariano Fortuny. The beauty, perfection, delicacy and grace of camellias and roses reflect the taste for detail bringing an assonance between inside and outside, spirit and nature, material and place. During this initial research botanic species with spring and summer flowering were chosen and the design intent anticipated a perennial flowering of the garden.

L'esterno della Fabbrica Fortuny.

Fortuny Factory.

The garden isn’t done in a year; it is never finished. It grows, and should growth with the toil and love. There are old gardens that one should touch with respect (…) It is difficult to remove leaves from one’s own garden even when describing it. (…) (If God himself planted a garden, what better can we do than imitate him?

(F. EDEN, A Garden in Venice).

I tessuti Fortuny.

Fortuny fabrics.



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