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.
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.
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.”
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?
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.
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.