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Peggy Guggenheim Immortalized in Orsoni Mosaic to Commemorate 60th Anniversary of the Collection

Joining the ranks of the most prominent artists of the 20th Century, the Angelo Orsoni mosaic atelier has commemorated Peggy Guggenheim in a portrait created in the glass enamels and 24 k gold tesserae, hand crafted at the 19th century Venetian furnace.


Antonella Gallenda, Orsoni maestra, at work on Guggenheim mosaic portrait – mosaicartsource

The mosaic, by Orsoni maestra Antonella Gallenda, will be presented to the museum on August 26 at the Danilo Rea/Umbria jazz concert, performed in celebration of Guggenheim’s birthday. The concert is part of a series of events commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

Peggy Guggenheim Sunglasses

Inspired by a photograph of Guggenheim wearing her signature Surrealist sunglasses made for her by Edward Melcarth, the portrait is done in the genre of “Modernism.”


Antonella working with Orsoni smalti & gold tesserae – Guggenheim mosaic – mosaicartsource

Lucio Orsoni, the world-renowned mosaic artist and great grandson of Orsoni founder Angelo Orsoni, originated this technique specifically to interpret mid-century monochrome photography into mosaic portraiture. By placing the tesserae vertically, the artist intensifies the essential flatness and limited color palette of the image.


Peggy Guggenheim Mosaic Portrait close-up – mosaicartsource

Speaking from personal memory, Orsoni reflects, “I had the chance to meet Peggy Guggenheim when I was 16.

Peggy Guggenheim along the canal with her dogs

I still remember when she passed on the canals on board a gondola with her beloved dogs. It’s now with great pleasure that we present her portrait to the Guggenheim Collection, realized in the atelier founded by my great grandfather.”


Peggy Guggenheim Portrait Mosaic exhibit in Orsoni garden – mosaicartsource

Mosaic Art Source mosaic definition:

mosaic glossary image - smalti smalti

smalto (pl. smalti) – smalti is characterized by its dazzling range of brilliant opaque colors. Smalti is prepared by adding crystalline material (corpo) and coloured material (anima) to the colourless or coloured fused glass. Smalti is literally available in thousands of colors, is a very stable glass, easy to cut and very durable. m.a.s. mosaic glossary

Mosaic Art Source mosaic definition:

gold leaf tesserae - mosaic gold gold leaf tesserae (mosaic gold)

gold leaf tesserae (mosaic gold) – 24k gold-leaf tesserae are made up of a glass support layer (usually transparent, at times opaque red or coloured) less than one centimetre thick. The 24k gold metal leaf is then sandwiched between the support and a thin protective glass layer (the cartellina). In tesserae the colour shade is determined by the purity of the metal, the thickness of the leaf, the colour, if any, of the cartellina and of the support. m.a.s. mosaic glossary

Mosaic Art Source mosaic definition:

tesserae – small, usually square pieces of glass or other material used to make a mosaic. Their size generally ranges from a few millimetres to two centimetres long and five to ten millimetres thick. The term derives from the Greek word meaning “four-sided”. m.a.s. mosaic glossary

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