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Pompeo Pianezzola

(1925-2012) born and lived in Nove, Vicenza, Italy
Triangular Form, 1973
stoneware, 4 x 9.5 x 3.75 inches, 93.39.108

At the age of 14, Pompeo Pianezzola began studying art in his hometown of Nove, Italy, by attending the Giuseppe De Fabris High School of the Arts and by working as an apprentice at the local Barettoni ceramic factory. After high school he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, where he trained under the painter Bruno Saetti. In 1949 he opened his studio in Nove as a painter, although over time he transitioned over time to focusing more on ceramic work. From 1945 to 1977 Pianezzola taught at the Art Institute of Nove, serving as its director from 1963 to 1968.

Active in the local ceramics community, Pianezzola was one of the founders of the Nove Group, which aimed to develop contemporary ceramic research and provide exhibition opportunities for local ceramicists. In 1957 he opened a ceramic studio/factory in Nove, working to produce both artistic works and commercial wares. However, after winning the prestigious Faenza Prize in Ceramics in 1963, which is one of the highest recognitions one can earn in the field, he left ceramics to work with metals, glass, and Plexiglas. He returned to ceramics a few years later to take part in the Second International Ceramic Symposium held in Nove, and he began using his newfound knowledge of metals to incorporate copper and brass inserts into his earthenware forms.

In the spring of 1971, under the auspices of the International Academy of Ceramics, the Tennessee Arts Commission pledged its support for the promotion and establishment of the U.S. International Ceramic Symposiums. The Symposium’s mission to help develop a worldwide network of support for ceramic art was achieved by bringing together top ceramic artists from around the world for a month-long sharing of ideas and creation of innovative ceramics.


Left: Pianezzola Center: Column, 1973, stoneware, 11.5 x 3 x 2.75 inches, 93.39.193 Right: Triangular Form, 1973, stoneware, 5.5 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches, 93.39.106

Pianezzola represented Italy at the First U.S. International Ceramic Symposium, which consisted of twenty-five artists from thirteen different countries, and was hosted in the summer of 1973 at the Memphis Academy of Art. While at the Symposium, he mainly worked with clay slabs, creating a number of wall reliefs supported by wooden frames and some smaller geometric raku forms, demonstrating his interest in form and structure.

 Pianezzola at the ICS, 1973

Following the Symposium, Pianezzola continued to work as an artist in Nove. Over time his art expanded in the idea of illusions, and he began to use silk-screening techniques to create textures that played with how the surface of his ceramics were interpreted. In the 1980s he started to silk-screen language onto the surface of page-like clay forms, which he would tear, fold, and shape. In the 1990s this work grew into depicting entire books, on which he applied his knowledge of surface to make them appear weathered. He continued to develop this line of artistic research until he passed away in 2012 at the age of 87.

Pianezzola exhibited widely throughout his career, and he has works in collections including the International Museum of Ceramics in Faenza, Italy; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England; The Ariana Museum in Geneva, Switzerland; the National Museum of Modern Art in Kyoto, Japan; the Museum of Modern Ceramic Art in Gifu, Japan; the Museum of Modern Ceramics in Barcelona, Spain; the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands; and the Bellerive Museum in Zurich, Switzerland. He participated in the Milan Triennale in 1947, 1952, 1960, and 1973, and he participated in the prestigious Venice Biennale in 1952, 1954, and 1968.

Pompeo has worked in industrial design, especially in architectural tiles. His interest is multi-media research and experimentation is carried out in his silk-screening process for glazing ceramic tiles. – 1973 International Ceramic Symposium catalogue

Written by Aiden Layer, TN Arts Intern