The brilliant, enigmatic Mariano Fortuny was born into a family of renowned artists in Granada, Spain, in 1871. Although he quickly proved talented as a painter, it soon became apparent that painting was only one of his many artistic gifts.
After his father's untimely death in 1874, Mariano's mother, Dona Cecilia, moved the young Fortuny to Paris. In 1889, they moved again, this time to Venice, where Fortuny would establish himself for the rest of his career.
Constant curiosity made the industrious Fortuny as varied as he was prolific. First a painter, then an etcher, a sculptor, a photographer, an architect and inventor, today's narrow definition of artist cannot adequately describe Mariano Fortuny. He was truly a Renaissance man who made his own photographic paper, bound his own books, and designed his own lamps and furniture. He created one of the first dimmer switches, invented a boat propeller, and made his own paints, dyes, brushes and machinery. He modernized stage lighting and set design by engineering the Fortuny Dome, which employed his theories on indirect and diffused light. His influences on modern life are often unrecognized, but no less immeasurable.
In 1897, Fortuny met his muse, Henriette Negrin, in Paris. She moved to his home and studio in Venice, the Palazzo Orfei, in 1902. Several years later, they married. With Henriette's unremitting support, Fortuny flourished. He entered the fashion industry in 1907, with the introduction of one of his most notable achievements, the Delphos gown, inspired largely by Greek sculpture. It was a garment, both elegant and versatile, that seemed to achieve the impossible: simultaneous simplicity and complexity. His revolutionary garments emphasized the female body in motion so well that notable dancers, such as Isadora Duncan, coveted them.
Soon after, Fortuny began work on the textiles that are still manufactured today. The production of these textiles was the culmination of his knowledge of engineering, color, design, and art, into one manifestation of pure artistic genius.
Fortuny continued his steadfast passion for the fine arts until he passed away at his home in Venice, in May of 1949.
Fortuny Interiors Hardcover
August 1, 2012
by Brian Coleman (Author),
Erik Kvalsvik (Photographer)
Fortuny: The Life and Work of
by Guillermo De Osma (Author),
Mariano Fortuny: His Life and Work
by Guillermo De Osma (Author),
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Every one of these enchanting patterns was designed in the 1900s by painter and sculptor, architect and inventor Mariano Fortuny. Known as the Magician of Venice, Fortuny devised techniques for printing and coloring fabrics, founding a factory to create them on the Venetian island of Giudecca.
A testament to his highly original and enterprising spirit, every Fortuny fabric is today still produced in this same factory, on the same machines, using the same secret process and techniques that Mariano Fortuny developed nearly a century ago. No two fabric runs are ever alike and each one ages with beauty. These are the finest cottons in the world—enduring and practical, yet instilled with the depth and lushness of silk or velvet. True to the house’s artisanal legacy, these inspired textiles are rich in history, golden-age influence, and painterly tradition.
It is with the greatest care and respect that we carry on this incredible legacy. Infused with our passion for Mariano Fortuny and his vision, we are dedicated to furthering the impeccable tradition of beauty, quality, and service long ago made synonymous with the Fortuny name.