This vibrant, iconic mid-century rooster was handmade in Montelupo, Italy, outside of Florence by Bitossi. The design shows the inventive, casual brilliance of Aldo Londi in the 1960s. Pieces such as this show why he was such a genius. Just like Picasso, Londi could bring a personality to life with a few simple lines and shapes. The rooster has a happy, joyous stance, ready to announce a new day.
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The rooster was glazed in a matte black, then covered by a luscious, nut brown matte glaze, except where outlines and simplified tulip designs had been masked with wax resist. This piece is 11.5″ (28 cm) high, 10″ (25 cm) from tail to beak, 5″ (13 cm) in diameter at the base. It is hand marked “809 Italy.” This design was made in brown and in the Rimini blue; It also has been seen as part of a lamp.
Condition notes: This Bitossi rooster is in wonderful condition, with no chips, cracks or repairs. Original Bitossi pieces have a roughhewn texture that is never perfect, but is truly authentic. This figure was handmade by an artist, so minor inconsistencies are expected.
Bitossi ceramics are not always particularly well marked, encouraging many to add this name to any ceramic ware marked “Italy.” Vintage Bitossi pieces are usually marked with a handwritten “Italy” and a style number, often (but not always) including a capital “B”. Becoming familiar with the glazes, distinctive texture and design impressions of Bitossi is the best way to judge. Starting in the 70s, some of their work was embossed with a name stamp. But be careful: Bitossi has reissued some of the classic Aldo Londi designs. The newer pieces are well marked and are mold-made, so they do not possess the original rough texture of the vintage pieces. Although known for Rimini blue, Bitossi pieces also come in red, gold, orange, brown, green, yellow and others.
The Bitossi family’s connection with ceramics dates back to the 1870s. But the true beginning of the modern pottery was in 1921, when Guido Bitossi founded Manifattura Cavaliere Bitossi e Figlia in Montelupo Fiorentino, near Florence. After Aldo Londi was promoted to artistic director in 1946, Bitossi’s ceramic designs took on his wonderfully whimsical, imaginative and modern style. His designs were a truly an inspired combination of functionality and aesthetics. Londi also encouraged other talented designers to create for Bitossi, such as Ettore Sottsass and Piero Fornasetti. The Bitossi company is still in business today.