While Leigh’s cocktail table was signed “Dubé,” most creations by Fontana Arte were left unmarked. “Top-tier architects were commissioning custom pieces,” explains New York dealer Brian Kish, who shows at the International Art and Design Fair in Manhattan. To sift through the avalanche of furnishings catalogued as Fontana that appear both online and in shops, Kish consults the Ponti archives, back issues of Domus magazine, Laura Falconi’s book Fontana Arte 1932–1998, Roberto Aloi’s L’arredamento Moderno (Modern Furnishings), and vintage Italian design magazines. “Sometimes there’s a triangular label, but you can get a feel for the weight of the glass, which has a high lead content,” notes Kish. “It’s heavy to lift. And you have to train your eye to the repertoire of color. It’s a particular green—verdigris green to cool aquamarine. There are also dusty grays, grayish pinks, and amber, straw colors.”
Above, Shakespearean bronze busts decorate a pair of coat hooks by Fontana Arte. Sotheby’s sold them for $11,306 (for four pairs).
Photograph: Courtesy of Sotheby’s