the Great Exhibition in Paris

When Angelo Orsoni set out for Paris in 1889, little could he have guessed at the success his courageous, original idea was to bring him. With his strong and resolute air, at the age of forty, he was taking a crucial gamble: showing the world that, alongside the most avant-garde techniques and within the vast enclosures of the Great Exhibition in Paris, the ancient and noble medium – mosaic could have be assigned a place of honor. His success was enormous!He presented a multicolored panel created for his sample collection of smalti and gold mosaic which immediately acquired artistic status and was considered a sign of its maker’s genius.

Angelo Orsoni was born into a poverty-stricken Murano family in the mid-nineteenth century and spent his early years working in glass factories were he developed a great passion for glass becoming specialized and skilled in making crystals, colored glass and avventurina. In 1877 famous mosaicists Giadomenico Facchina how just received a big commission from France, discovered the young talented Orsoni and offered him to work in his factory to produce smalti.Later Facchina moved to France inviting Orsoni to follow him but he refused, the love for his town and his country made him decide to stay and with the firm believe he would have find the success in his own Venice. Facchina decided to donate Orsoni his workshop and become himself his first and best client. It was 1888, the year before the Great Exhibition in Paris and the blooming Age of Art Nouveau during witch the Mosaic started to explore new categories of applications, detaching his use from the religious image and embracing new concepts for decoration and urban design as well as pure art form. This is a moment of a great smalti production. Mosaic production enjoyed a healthy revival, in large part because of Orsoni’s contributions.
Orsoni’s name soon became linked to major projects such as those involving the Sacre’ Coeur Cathedral in Paris, the celebrated Paris Opera House, the Sanctuary of Lourdes and St. Paul Cathedral in London, to name but a fewWhen Angelo Orsoni died in 1921, his son Giovanni inherited a company that was by now established throughout Europe. Giovanni Orsoni did not betray his cultural, as well as technical, legacy.

Murano family in the mid-nineteenth century

He was responsible for the wonderful mosaic decorations on the spires of Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona, for those inside the Altare della Patria in Rome, and the astonishing Golden Room in Stockholm City Hall. Giovanni was assisted by his son Angelo, who took over the company on his father’s death in 1935. Years later, Angelo was joined by his sons Ruggero and Lucio. When their father died in 1969, Ruggero and Lucio carried on the family business as tirelessly as ever and continue today to devote their time and their incredible talents to the fine art of mosaics.