Giovanni Battista Gatti

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Giovanni Battista Gatti (1816-1889) was one of the foremost Italian intarsiatori of the second half of the Nineteenth Century.

Gatti worked initially in Florence and then in Rome, and finally in the 1870's established a permanent workshop in his home town of Faenza, where he ultimately died in 1889. He was a pupil of the Falcini brothers, the famous Florentine intarsiatore and became internationally known for his objects in very fine intarsia work. Gatti was one of the most inventive and skilled of the nineteenth century cabinetmakers to use this technique, his level of detail is reflected in the fact that most of the items produced by him were very small in size.

Gatti used mother of pearl, ivory, enamel and pietre dure for his very delicate intarsia work, mostly inspired by the Renaissance style. Throughout his career Gatti was not known to have been assisted by apprentices or helpers in his workshop, which may account for the scarcity of objects attributed to him, and therefore the high cost of his objects. Due to his failing eyesight, Gatti's brief yet impressive career ended in 1881.

The Austrian Emperor and Cardinal Amant were amongst Gatti's important patrons. In 1867 Gatti was awarded a diplôme d'honneur at the Paris Exposition Universelle. He was also awarded a medal at the Internationale Ausstellung in Vienna in 1873, for a casket. In 1878 he was awarded yet another gold medal at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

There is an ebony and ivory frame by Gatti in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, which was exhibited at the 1878 Paris Exhibition. Further works include another casket which was exhibited in the 1862 International Exhibition in London, as well as an extraordinary cabinet in the 1865 exhibition in Dublin.

Makers Bibliography:

Claudio Paolini, Alessandra Ponte, Ornella Selvafolta: Il Bello Ritrovato, (Novara) 1990.

A cabinet by Gatti for the 1855 exhibition is featured in Christopher Payne's 19th Century Furniture, Pages 425 and 441.

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19th Century Italian Ebony and Ivory Decorative Stationary Box
A Stationary Box Firmly Attributed to Giovanni Battista Gatti Constructed in ebony inlaid with precious woods and ivory; rising from turned toup...
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Marquetry Table Cabinet in the Renaissance Revival Manner
A Fine Table Cabinet firmly attributed to Giovanni Battista Gatti Constructed in Ebony and Walnut, with Mother of Pearl and Ivory inlays; of rec...
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