Sunday, April 15, 2012

Fortuny: A Master at Work, Part 1

Fortuny painting at his easel

When people think of Fortuny they seem to always mention his fabrics but did you know before the fabrics Mariano Fortuny was already a painter, etcher, sculptor and photographer. He was also a lighting engineer, an inventor, a theatre director, a set designer, an architect and finally a creator of exquisite fabrics and clothes.  He manufactured his own dyes and pigments according to ancient methods of early masters. It was due to his love of the theater that Fortuny went on, in our time, to become one of the best-known textile designers.

 Traditional Home, February/March 2012

It’s hard to pick up a magazine these days and not see Fortuny fabric either covering a piece of furniture or turned into a pillow. A lot of his fabrics have names, named for people or places he had known and visited. The blue, silvery gold fabric covering the chair and pillows is called “Campanelle” a morning glory motif named after a 17th century Italian design.

Traditional Home

Do you notice the flower stalk emerging from an urn, the morning glories emanating around?

Suzanne Kasler's Home, Architectural Digest

Suzanne Kasler uses Fortuny’s fabrics throughout her home, in her living she used Fortuny’s “Serves” pattern in brilliant blue and silvery gold on her sofa pillows. The “Serves” pattern is a tradition 17th century Italian style named after a Rembrandt painting.

Suzanne Kasler's bedroom, Architectural Digest

In her bedroom on the bench and bed pillow she used Fortuny’s “Delfino” pattern, a 17th century French design, in string and silvery gold color.

Charlotte Moss' library, Veranda, November

A pillow in “Impero” design, a formal 19th century French Empire motif, in sienna on parchment sits in Charlotte Moss’ library. (It’s the small middle pillow that looks coppery.)

Design by Michael S. Smith

The chairs that flank the fireplace Michael Smith used “Carnavalet” fabric in brown and gold museum cloth, a 17th century design named for a famous Paris museum.

Design by Michael S. Smith

For this pair of gilt-wood chairs he used “Piumette” pattern, a 15th century Persian design with a small feather motif in pink, aquamarine and gold.

All of these fabrics are available today through the trade or you can scout places like ebay or ruby lane if you’re only looking for enough to make a pillow or two. Keep in mind the cost can vary greatly depending on fabric, age, color and design, Fortuny is not just Fortuny. New Fortuny typically runs around $400 per yard while vintage Fortuny can cost in the thousands and don't get me started on silk velvet Fortuny.

Umbellas at Bergdorf Goodman

If you aren’t a seamstress but like the patterns you can always pick up an umbrella sold through Bergdorf Goodman and are you ready for the price…a mere $450! I’ve seen these and I have to say they’re gorgeous.

L'Objet Fortuny dishes seen in Architectural Digest

Today Fortuny patterns are being recreated on everything including fine dinnerware from L'objet but be forewarned even a simple dessert plate is $250 but wouldn’t you enjoy your sweet more?  

Display at Bergdorf Goodman, Photo by Steve Freihon

For those of you who are trying to find their own pattern name or just want to browse more of Fortuny’s patterns there’s a wonderful Fortuny directory located on my best friends website at Olde World Pillows .

I’ve shown you new Fortuny fabrics, accessories and dinnerware but up next is my Fortuny, old Fortuny, discontinued patterns and silk velvet. And I have a surprise that I’ve been dying to share with everyone so stay tuned…….

Have a fabulous week and don’t forget to stop and smell a few springtime roses for me!



Splendid Sass said...

His work is a masterpiece! I love his designs. Thank you so much for sharing his gorgeous work. Such a talented man.
Happy Sunday.

The enchanted home said...

What a legend and look at the footprint his designs and immense talent have left. Such beautiful inspiration......and a gorgeous post I was drooling over the pictures. Have a great night Debra.

Decor de Provence said...

I just LOVE your posts!!! Not only are your images inspiring, but I also learn soooo much! I feel silly, but I had no idea Fortuny accomplished so much! I've heard about the fabrics, but never did I put the name with a face! Thanks Debra for always bringing such inspiring knowledge my way!

much love to you!

michele said...

totally makes sense to hear that history of fortuny. i feel all fancy like an elegant lady after reading your gorgeous post, and the suzanne kasler room? ohmilord.

have a wonderful week, lovely blogger, and no roses blooming here yet, but i did my part to encourage them (brutal pruning in the garden today!).

smiles to you.


Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


This is a fabulous post. As Des commented above, I did not know about Fortuny being a REnaissance man! What an accomplished life he led. I am now intregued and off to visit the blog of your best friend as well as to find some more information about Fortuny. I am always in awe of people who have so many talents.

I had a friend here this last week who is an artist, a jewlery designer, a sculpture, a ceramicist and many other things. It boggles the mind how some are blessed with so many artistic talents and then others like myself are blessed with other talents that have nothing to do with art.

Have a wonderful week, thank you for visiting!


Pura Vida said...

I just love the green stripe and floral headboard. Can't wait to read more about this talent

Taylor Greenwalt said...

Love his work and the 2 first images are wonderful.

Karena said...

Thank you so much, dear friend, Fortuny has always represented the ultimate in luxury fabrics. I loved so much hearing about the genius behind the man! So extremely talented..

Art by Karena

Sharon Lee Johnson said...

Love your posts so full of interesting information and I love the Fortuny fabrics - they have a richness combined with a subtlety which is just perfect! x Sharon

Heather Robinson said...

I can't wait to read the rest Debra. I always love when you share with us your knowledge and this post was no exception!

LaPouyette said...

So interesting!!! Always loved the Fortuny design.

And I could 'die' to have one of these umbrellas for a luxurious walk in the rain.....

Debbie O said...

I never knew! Thank you for the overview and education. I can see his influence now in other materials.

quintessence said...

Well clearly you and I are on the same wavelength! I was just at the showroom talking to the boys - what a gorgeous creative place!! I received the beautiful red l'Objet plates for Christmas!! I know - lucky me!!

Victoria said...

What a beautiful collection of Fortuny magnificence, Debra. I have a pair of Fortuny sconces that I bought two decades ago and never tire of admiring the fabric's elegant design and timeless beauty.
All the best...Victoria

I Dream Of said...

I had no idea that Mariano Fortuny was such a Renaissance man. Such a beautiful legacy. Looking forward to seeing your own collection!

Thanks for your encouraging comment today! Hope your week is lovely.

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Ah, the Renaissance man! It really is amazing how many talents he had and how he was not afraid to express them all. His fabric designs are the ultimate in elegance and luxury.
I always love your posts because you show us wonderful images and educate us at the same time. Thank you for showing us some of Fortuny's superb designs.

Acanthus and Acorn said...

An inspiring and informative post! I can not wait to see your treasures in Part II. I would love one of those umbrellas, but would freak out if I lost it!

Stacey said...

Fortuny designs are the ultimate in luxury and quality. Great background info too! I've missed visiting:-). Yes, I'm smelling the springtime roses and lots of dirty diapers too-lol! XX

Fortuny, Inc. said...

Hi Debra, great post and thank you for the mention!

Unknown said...

This was a master class on Fortuny! I feel like I've just learned so much.

I guess it's an understatement to say these fabrics are exquisite. And...yes, I might just need that umbrella for April showers!

Happy week, Debra!
xoxo Elizabeth

Kim @ French Country Antiques said...

Such an informative post on Fortuny. Can't wait for the next one.

Karen said...

How interesting. I always knew of him and his world famous fabrics, but nothing about him.
Thanks for this little history lesson.

designchic said...

A true completely smitten with the gorgeous works. These images are amazing!!

Anonymous said...

what stunning spaces! LOVE the classic feel! xx,
The Golden Girls

Stacy CUrran said...

Wow, I learned a lot! And I am going to your friend's store now - always love the learn of new sources!

Luciane at said...


You're simply amazing, my friend! Your posts are incredible! That's all I have to say! :-)

I 'd smell the roses, but there's no flowers here yet.... can't wait for spring to sprung!


Luciane at

Leslie said...


A Master indeed!! How can all that talent be rolled up in to just ONE individual?! The blues and golds are just gorgeous.

I think I need one of those umbrellas to stroll around Seattle!

Enjoy your day!


LB said...

Hello, Debra. I have used Fortuny lamps in a number of houses I've done but did not know all that about Fortuny himself. Lovely, informative post. xo ~L

Paula said...

Absolutely beautiful, and what a brilliant and informative post! Looking forward to seeing more Fortuny and hearing your secret. x
p.s. regarding your comment about Hydrangea's in pots lining the drive in Winter - I coincidentally read about Prince Charles using woodchip to fill his terracotta pots almost to the top and then planting the Hydrangea in a plastic pot within the woodchip. Apparently this insulates the clay and stops the cracking!

Barbara@HausDesign said...

He designed such classic, elegant fabrics but I had no idea that he went way beyond that! I look forward to learning more and hearing about your big surprise. :) I would love to have sevearl of these rooms to call my own, as well as a fortuny lamp...beautiful post Debra!

Fashion-isha said...

That's really interesting, I never knew that! Thanks for sharing and for those gorgeous pictures of inspiration!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello Debra,

I hope that you are having a great week!


As I type this comment I am watching a tv show where they just featured your candle holder! Absolutely fabulous!

Maison de lin said...

Hello Debra,

I agree whit you, this is a master!!!

Thanks for sharring

Mona Thompson Providence Ltd. said...

He designed such fabulous fabrics...they make me drool...I can't wait to see what you are up to. I'm guessing in my mind. XO, Mona

Boxwood Terrace said...

Hi Deb - I hope all is well with you! I enjoyed this post so much and learned more about Fortuny. Also enjoyed all the photos--especially Suzanne Kasler's home. Thanks for sharing your textile expertise with us!

Veronica said...

Hi Debra. What a master and every fabric is simply more sumptuous than the previous, rich in design and colour! I have to share this with my son who is involved in theatre but also has interest in set design etc. He loves learning about the old masters and the origin of names etc. This is a wonderful post and I am going to have a peek at the other site now.

Amazing rooms and colours. Loved that first blue and the small copper pillow!

Have a great Friday and a good weekend!


cotedetexas said...

growing up, our two sofas were covered in fortuny - a taupe or beige and white. not sure which pattern. I should try to find a picture to show you.

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