Paolo Venini was born to a middle class Lombard family in Cusano - Italy - on January 12, 1895. As a young man he studied law in Milan. During the first war he was stationed near Venice where he became fascinated with the glass mosaics and stained glass of St. Mark’s cathedral.
After the war he began a law practice, but soon he came under the influence of Venetian art and antiquities dealer Giacomo Cappellin, who convinced the young Venini to join him as a business partner in a new Murano glass enterprise, in 1921.
Already in 1925 Paolo opened his own glassmaker, the Venini & C. . Napoleone Martinuzzi was the art director until 1932, when Tomaso Buzzi took his place.
The Venini & C. saw the best glass artists of the time worked for it: Gio Ponti, Carlo Scarpa and Fulvio Bianconi are just few of the names who collaborated with Paolo. Also after Venini's death, the company continued the production, respecting his mindset and involving in greatest national and international artists.
Venini’s biography is the story of a man whose literal personality has been subsumed by his professional life and persona. In 1940 the Swedish artist Tyra Lundgren described him as, “An ideally balanced personality: an able industrialist, an energetic merchant and an avant-garde artist with infallible taste, an expert technician, a lover of the medium, highly sensitive to the noble purity of forms”.
Indeed, Paolo Venini seems to have been a person who was able to coax the best from his artists, designers and master craftsmen; a man who was a tireless promoter of his company and its aesthetic; a visionary who was able to combine the cultural sophistication of Milan with the ancient craftsmanship of Murano.
By the time of his death in 1959, the Venini name had become synonymous with superb taste and elegant modern style.