Giovanni DeSimone Original Pottery!

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Giovanni DeSimone Original Pottery!

Written by Jessica Graybill

We got a call last week from a woman who was clearing out her uncle’s storage facility and had come across several boxes of pottery, which upon further review proved to be quite a find – vintage Giovanni DeSimone! We were lucky enough to purchase the entire lot, and I’m so excited to tell you we now have an Etsy shop up and running with our newly-acquired vintage pieces! But more on that later…for those of you who can’t wait, click here – but if you want some background on one of our collective favorite collections, read on!

Pieces from the family's personal collection in the DeSimone showroom in Palermo!

Pieces from the family’s personal collection in the DeSimone showroom in Palermo!

For those unfamiliar with the history behind this fabulous pottery, here’s a quick recap.

Giovanni DeSimone was born in 1930 in Palermo, Italy (Sicily) to a pair of Italian aristocrats. As a young child he traveled to Somalia, and his experiences there clearly stuck with him and inspired his life’s work, which demonstrates an appreciation of primitivism and the cubist movement that was popularized by Picasso, Matisse and Gauguin in the early 1900s.

DeSimone relocated to Emilia-Romagna following WWII (his family had been incarcerated in a concentration camp during said war; yikes), where he then enrolled in famed Istituto d’Arte per la Ceramica in Faenza. It was there he found his life’s calling; pottery became his passion. After completing his studies, he and his family returned to Sicily. Nostalgic for his native land now seen through adult eyes, Giovanni finally felt at home. It is here in Palermo that DeSimone meets the love of his life, Eliana, who eventually becomes his wife. Together they created three beautiful daughters, Susanna, Margherita and Rosita.

Susanna DeSimone - Italian Pottery Outlet

Susanna DeSimone’s bright and colorful work is a masterful homage to her father’s legacy.

The DeSimone ceramics studio began in the 1960s and produced both dinnerware and serving pieces as well as decorative tiles and larger panels. During his most prolific period, there was anywhere from four to six artisans who worked for him and helped with production. The colors and themes were consistent throughout, though each decorator had their own sort of style. Giovanni would typically sign his work “DeSimone” in a location that would be visible without having to turn the piece over.

DeSimone passed away in 1991, but his legacy continues though his daughters Susanna and Margherita, who operate La Fabbrica della Ceramica; still located in Palermo, Sicily. Their work is very much inspired by the creations of their father, and, like his work (and all of the Italian ceramics that we carry!), each are individually handmade and hand painted. His brightly-colored pottery is recognized and sought after by collectors, but the honest accessibility of his work draws in new devotees every day.

Now; back to our fresh vintage finds! I am so excited! We have recently opened up an Etsy shop for them, which are estimated to have been made between the 1970s and 1980s. Because of the age of these pieces, we cannot verify that they are food safe, so these collector’s items should be purchased as only decorative additions to your existing DeSimone collection. Items purchased from our Etsy shop are not for food use (but don’t worry! Anything bought from our regular site is food-safe!).

10 Comments

  1. Frank Herbert August 17, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    I have a large collection of DeSimone pottery and I would like to get an appraisal. I have approximately
    120 various pcs that I have accumulated the last 30 years. I am located in Miami Florida

    • Italian Pottery August 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm

      Hi Frank,
      We don’t really do appraisals (not very precise ones, anyway!) but if you want to email some photos to us, we can take a look and see if we can help! Our email address is info@Italianpottery.com
      Best,
      Jessica

  2. Mary Terhune October 5, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    I have a very Large Yellow Bowl. I wd say it was a mixing Bowl if I had to guess. It has hand painted Grapes on inside. I cant find any info an my Mother never said where it came from. Would appreciate any info. TY.

    • Italian Pottery October 5, 2016 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Mary,
      Feel free to send a photo to our email info@italianpottery.com and we will do our best to give you information.
      Thanks,
      Adele Spalluto

  3. Tammy brandon December 1, 2016 at 6:14 am

    I have a couple vases that I don’t know what they r. Wondering if u can tell me if hey r worth keeping or not.

    • Italian Pottery December 1, 2016 at 10:47 am

      Hi Tammy,
      You can always email us with photos and we can try to tell you more about them, but here’s my take: if you love them, keep them! If you don’t, you can sell them on eBay or Etsy. Feel free to email us at info@italianpottery.com for more information!

  4. Janice Cantore January 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    I have a little ceramic man, it looks as if he’s playing the cymbals. His base has the inscription ‘Desimone Italy 102″ I was wondering what it’s worth.

    • Italian Pottery January 10, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      How cute! It’s hard to say. We aren’t appraisers, so we aren’t well-versed on the value of vintage ceramics, despite being very familiar with (and lovers of!) DeSimone pottery. If you want to email a photo to us – info@italianpottery.com – and include measurements, we can see if anyone here knows anything. Otherwise, eBay is a great resource! Search for items similar to yours in size and decor, and you can see how much people are buying them for. Good luck!

  5. Lisa February 19, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    Hi can you tell me what 16416 stands for on bottom of my Desimone Italy piece? There is also the letter “K” off to the side. Thank you, Lisa

    • Italian Pottery February 19, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Lisa!
      It’s most likely an item number for the shape of the piece. The K may be an initial of the artist, as sometimes he had apprentices help with decoration of some of his ceramics.
      I hope that helps!

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