Last weekend, while driving around, we discovered a small billboard advertising a European Antiques store located within a group of industrial buildings. Piquing my interest, we proceeded to locate the store and take a gander inside! It was filled with TONS of European antiques – both large furniture pieces as well as smaller objects d’art. Many treasures interested me, but reality set in knowing that I just didn’t have the space to showcase these beautiful items. But as I was looking around, I spotted a set of bookends which caught my eye. They were a beautiful green and cream-colored glazed ceramic with a relief of Leda and the Swan!
As this painting is dear to my heart, and seems to follow me wherever I go, I knew I had to have these bookends. (Please see my previous blog post about Leda and the Swan here). The tag on them indicated they were Italian from the 1940’s. They were signed at the bottom C. Romanelli.
I bought them and knew that I had to find out more about them and the artist. As I began my research (google is a wonderful thing), I discovered that they were actually made in the USA back in the 1940’s by an Italian/American artist by the name of Carl Romanelli. Mr. Romanelli was a 7th generation sculptor, and his family of sculptors is so famous in Italy that they have a museum dedicated to the family’s sculptural work in Florence. His ancestors were responsible for numerous sculptural masterpieces which can be found in museums such as the Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, and adorning plazas and other public places with their sculptures of eminent public figures.
Carl Romanelli worked for a popular pottery studio named Metlox Potteries which had its studios in Manhattan Beach, CA.
His unique creations fell under the Museum Masterpieces collection and many of his designs were patented. This discovery is a unique coincidence on my part since pottery studios in old Los Angeles were a part of my husband’s family heritage. His grandmother had Malibu Potteries from 1926 to 1932, and I have taken many inspirations for my own art from this studio.