Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (1871 – 1949) started his career as a painter, like his father (Mariano Fortuny y Marsal) and his grandfather (Federico Madrazo). Later he devoted himself to photography, scenography, industrial design and fashion. He achieved notorious innovations in all these fields, but I want to write about his work as textile designer.
Maybe the most popular design made by Mariano Fortuny was the pleated he used to create the “Delfos” dress. Four pieces of material stitched with tiny Murano glass formed the robe that was worn by Isadora Duncan and Peggy Guggenheim, among other celebrities.
|Delfos plaid. Mariano Fortuny.www.hola.com|
I saw Mariano Fortuny’s textile creations at an exhibition organized by “Fundación La Caixa” (La Pedrera, 2010). The patterns, the materials, the designs were absolutely marvelous and still on fashion nowadays.
Fortuny carried a very interesting life, dedicated to art and craftsmanship and living in different cities. As the son of painter Mariano Fortuny and de Cecilia Madrazo, he was raised in a highly cultural ambience. Her mother collected Arabian and old Eastern textiles and decorative pieces which he could study thoroughly.
Mariano Fortuny was born in Granada, lived in Paris and, in 1881, installed his studio at the Palacio Pesaro degli Orfei in Venice. His wife, Henrietta Negrín, donated the palace to the city, were now is the Fortuny Museum. The Spanish artist moved his studio to a factory at the island Giudecca, and started to manufacture his textile creations. The factory still uses the machines Fortuny installed in 1922.
Mariano Fortuny developed and patented a textile printing process using metal pigments (bronze and copper for a golden look and aluminum for silver shades). This technique made patterns seam weaved.
|Block-printed silk velvet. Mariano Fortuny, 1929. V&A Museum|
|Mariano Fortuny print. www.belovedlinens.net|
|Mariano Fortuny. Silk. www.belovedlinens.net|
He’s considered one of textile design masters. Fortuny’s creations combined craftsmanship and traditional styles together with new developments. He found inspiration in the Italian silks of the XIV and XV centuries, as well as in the city of Venice, were he studied the Renaissance. His upholsteries are full of grapes and pomegranates, on fashion during those years. Mariano Fortuny’s innovations included new printing systems, for example on silk velvet. He also created colors using formulas from old books with natural pigments. After his death they were thrown to Venice’s canals and his widow banned that the printing velvets were manufactured. Henriette sold the factory to the Gozzi Countess and it’s still working producing Mariano Fortuny’s fabulous upholstery, under Riad brothers managemente.
|Mariano Fortuny textile, 1915. blog.fidmmuseum.org|
|Lucrezia, cotton. Mariano Fortuny. MetMuseum|