A view into one of the galleries at Casanova Venetian Glass & Art.

Magical, Mysterious Murano

Custom Murano Chandeliers and Venetian Mirrors 
at Casanova Venetian Glass & Art 

Keith Davison and his Italian-born wife Marina have spent decades promoting Venetian glass and glass art through their gallery Casanova Venetian Glass & Art in Naples, Florida. Today the gallery is one of the best sources outside of Italy for Murano glass, custom Venetian mirrors, and works by contemporary Murano art glass makers. Incollect spoke with Davison about falling in love with Venice and the unique allure of Italian glass.

by Benjamin Genocchio 

Gallery owners Keith Davison and his Italian-born wife Marina in Venice. Left: Keith at the historic Bridge of Sighs. Right: Marina stands before a spectacular “LU” chandelier by master glass artist Fabio Fornasier.

What is your focus as a gallery?

Our primary specialty is Venetian glass from the island of Murano in Italy. We represent over 65 top glass masters from Murano. My wife Marina and I visit Venice often, choosing the finest glassware in the world. We have been working with these furnaces for 20 years and have developed friendships with all of them. We also carry fine art from around the world, Venetian masks and ancient coins. 

Left: Traditional handmade Venetian mirror with Italian Baroque framework, hand etching and pastel Murano glass blossoms. Made to order in Murano, Italy. Right: Sole (Sun) Venetian mirror by Ongaro E Fuga. A profusion of overlapping blossoms with delicate details, available in clear glass, Luna (Moon) or 24K gold-infused glass Sole (Sun, as shown) and in three sizes.

Tell us about yourself and your background.

My profession was actually as a real estate broker and an appraiser.  I spent a lot of time in Italy and fell in love with Venice. Twenty years ago I decided to create a showroom in Naples, Florida that features the magical art glass and decor from that part of Italy. 

Gianni Versace Mirror by Fratelli Barbini. Designed by Versace for his South Beach, Florida house, Casa Casuarina, this is one of a pair (the second, in red and gold, is also available) commissioned by the designer from his friends the Barbini family. Bold Greek key/meander border with the Versace Medusa logo in the four corners, these mirrors are museum-quality pieces. Versace never saw the final work because unfortunately, during production, he met his untimely death.


What is special or different about Venetian glass?

Glassblowing began 1,000 years ago in Venice. A few centuries later the furnaces were moved to the neighboring island of Murano, in order to protect the main island from fires. Some of the families whose work I feature in the gallery can trace their family lineage of glassblowing back several centuries. The Barovier family is the oldest of them, going back to the 1290s. The Seguso family traces their glassblowing roots back 23 generations.

Left: Precious Drops Murano glass pendant light. Made to order with your custom colors and sizes. Right: Bubbles Murano glass chandelier. Also available as a semi-flush mount ceiling light or floor lamp. Made to order with your custom colors and sizes.

You mix historical and contemporary glass art at the gallery. Is there a living maker you are excited about right now?

One of the best in the world is Davide Salvadore. His works are all one-of-a-kind, and his detail is incredible. There is no doubt in my mind that anything he makes will be of museum quality.

Left: Fleur di Lis chandelier by Andromeda. 8-light Murano glass chandelier with 24K gold dust inclusions, beautiful blue flowers, and remarkable detail. Right: Black Beauty chandelier by Simone Cenedese. Impressive estate-size 18-light, two-tier chandelier. 


And you also specialize in sourcing Italian mirrors?

Our selection of mirrors is probably the largest in the United States. We represent several top artisans from Venice. We offer hundreds of designs and styles. These makers create incredible pieces for the great estates of the world, cruise ships, top hotels, and other luxury settings. We are able to have the perfect mirror made in whatever dimensions you need, and in whatever color you desire. The mirrors can be shipped directly to your home within 6-8 weeks of an order.

Left: Testa Di Cavallo by Pino Signoretto, signed, circa 1980s.  Right: Ancella Mosi vessel by Davide Salvadore. This monumental, 41-inch tall one-of-a-kind piece was inspired by the artist’s interest in tribal cultures. Hand-blown and sculpted glass with murrines.  

What is one of your favorite pieces of glass on view in the gallery?

There are so many to pick from, my favorite is hard to say. I would probably pick one of the monumental vases by Davide Salvadore titled "Ancella Mosi." I also have a museum-quality horse head sculpture that was made by the late Pino Signoretto, who is considered one of the greatest glass sculptors of our time.

Calcedonia glass was first developed during the mid-15th century and attributed to Angelo Barovier. The technique was lost with the fall of the Venetian Republic in the late 18th century, rediscovered only to be lost once again, and revived in the 1970s by the late Murano glass master Loredano Rosin and his brother Dino. The production of Calcedonia glass, more akin to alchemy than chemistry, is unpredictable and mysterious, which somehow fits with the otherworldly beauty of the agate-like striations and swirls of color that are created. Left: Calcedonia Glass Sculpture, signed, Murano, Italy. Right: Rainbow Bowl by Dino Rosin. Signed and certified, Murano, Italy.

Is there a glassmaking skill, style, or process that you especially admire and why?

I love the Calcedonia style of Murano glass. It was a treatment that was created hundreds of years ago in Venice, but then the creative “recipe” was lost for centuries. It has now been revived, and the beautiful marbling of glass makes for incredible sculptures.


How important are online platforms today for reaching clients?

Our clients mostly come from the United States, but sometimes from other countries as well. Online platforms are absolutely required in order to reach clients who would never otherwise find us in Naples!

Who are some of the new or up-and-coming glass artists who you show and who deserve more attention?  

I would recommend Emanuel Toffolo and Robert Beltrami.   

Installation images with special pieces from Casanova. Left: A gold-leaf-infused chandelier is a dramatic focal point in a dining room. Right: A multi-tiered, swirling pendant light descends through a double-height stairwell and is reflected in a pair of hand-etched Venetian mirrors decorated with applied leaves and flowers.


Do you work with designers and architects to place glass pieces in homes or commercial spaces? 

I have several interior designers with whom I work regularly and I love this work. One of my favorite projects was the opportunity to install Murano glass sculptures throughout a private yacht. I would like more interior designers and architects to know about the advantages of working with me, as I have access to and pricing for custom pieces that they would never be able to obtain on their own.

Left:   Venice chandelier. Available in other designs including sconces, freeform pendant, and a tiered ring chandelier. Custom colors and sizes available. New, handmade to order in Venice, Italy. Right: Riflessi (Reflections) chandelier. Additional forms and sizes available, including round and square pendants and sconces. Custom colors and sizes available, New, handmade to order in Venice, Italy. 

How does art glass transform interiors — in short, why buy it? 

The coloring and styling of Murano chandeliers, sculptures, Venetian mirrors, and other accent pieces add eye-catching focal points that add rich, pure color and reflect light around the room. I always advise clients to buy Murano because of its unique and special qualities. Some pieces can truly grow in value as well. I had one vase by Archimede Seguso that rose in value from $10,000 to over $28,000 within 15 years.


What glass art do you have in your home? 

I have pieces of Pino Signoretto, Dino Rosin, Venini, Zanetti, and several important vintage items.

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