Bitossi collection
“Probably 90 percent of all of the pieces in my collection I have found online through research and checking authenticity,” Max explains. “Living where I do, I may come across four or five pieces every few years.”

Italian-made ceramics have a rich and notable background, and—as any midcentury enthusiast or collector may know—some of the most notable work is that of the company Bitossi Ceramiche. Distinguished by brightly colored glazes and impeccable textures, these pieces are truly works of art sought out by collectors all around the world. One such collector, Max McDonald of Lubbock, Texas, shares his passion for Midcentury Modern pieces and for Bitossi ceramics.

Bitossi in Cambodia decor
This Bitossi striped décor came in two color variations. This piece uses the cooler color combination called “Cambodia décor,” whereas the warmer color combination was called ‘Thailand décor.”

Beginning the Craze

Max’s love for collecting began with a general love for midcentury furniture and décor. “In wanting to research some pieces of furniture I had already found, I came across a Midcentury Modern Facebook group. I really give them a lot of credit, because it is a [very] comprehensive compilation of midcentury experts and enthusiasts,” states Max.

“I had seen some postings about Italian ceramics, and it stuck with me when I found my first authentic Bitossi piece.” It was through this community of people that Max discovered how special Bitossi ceramics are and found his passion for creating a collection of his own.

Researching and Hunting

Over the past five years, Max developed an interest in various ceramic makers other than Bitossi, and dove into researching more about the entire genre of Italian ceramics. “Probably 90 percent of all of the pieces in my collection I have found online through research and checking authenticity,” Max explains. “Living where I do, I may come across four or five pieces every few years.” He continuously adds new pieces to his collection and creates posts about his findings.

green sponge Bitossi
The green sponge glaze on these pieces gives a soft, three-dimensional texture reminiscent of moss.
Ikano decor Bitossi
These Ikano décor figurines feature the signature golden circles found on all ceramics within this style.

Artistic Specialty

The journey of Max’s collection began simply from his general interest in a specific time period and grew into a love for collecting artwork. “I learned a lot about Aldo Londi, the famous art director who worked at Bitossi during the height of the Midcentury Modern era, and truly admire his work,” Max says. “As a photographer, I began appreciating the pieces more as an artist than just a collector.”

yellow bitossi
These pieces include the signature textures found in most Bitossi pieces with a bright yellow glaze.
Italian ceramics
Max’s collection contains a variety of Italian ceramics including several Bitossi pieces from the Riedizioni Archivio Storico and Rimini Blue collections.

The Bitossi collection is regularly a subject of research because of its artistic value and historical importance. The growing collaboration between collectors and aficionados of this style keeps the history alive and brings new enthusiasm to the beautiful artwork of the mid mod era.

 


History and Charm

Throughout the 20th century, Bitossi ceramics were incredibly popular and distinctively unique thanks to their bright colors and remarkable textures. But how did a small Italian ceramics company grow to become a major producer of midcentury collectibles?

Rimni blue Bitossi
Rimini Blue is the most popular style of Bitossi ceramics because of its striking blue color and unusual use of texture. Artist Aldo Londi made this style of glazing iconic.

Start At The Beginning

Guido Bitossi founded Manifattura Cavaliere Bitossi e Figlia (Manufacturer Sir Bitossi and Sons) in 1921 in Montelupo Fiorentino, Italy. The family had been involved in making roof tiles for centuries, and the 1921 enterprise was geared to continue making these roof tiles plus fl oor tiles, everyday household ceramic items and some art pottery.

Bitossi bulls
Bitossi bull figurines were incredibly popular in the 1950s and ’60s, coming in a variety of colors and textures.
True Artistry

Traditional production was renewed thanks to the art direction of Aldo Londi, whose attention to detail and creativity led Bitossi into a golden age of sorts, producing some of the company’s most notable collections—like the famous Rimini Blue. This collection of blue glazed animals is arguably the most iconic of Bitossi’s work, and put the company on the map during the 1950s and ’60s. The stylistic charm of these pieces continuously draws in new collectors and art enthusiasts.