American artist Richard Blow (1904-1983) is known today for expertly reviving the Florentine tradition of pietre dure, or stone intarsia, a highly specialized stoneworking technique dating back to before the Renaissance. Blow set up a workshop in Montici, Italy following WWII and there collaborated with the finest Italian craftspeople to produce intriguing works in stone mosaic in a modernist style.
This pietre dure panel depicts an owl perched on a variegated brown and green branch, with piercing eyes, against a glimmering black backround.
While Blow frequently depicted animals in his work, including marine and avian creatures, he rarely depicted the owl, which is considered to be a harbinger of bad luck in Italian culture. There are only a handful of examples of Blow’s work depicting owls, including a small pietra dure lidded box. This is the only known example of his wall mosaic depicting the bird.
Height: 8 ½ inches (21.6 cm)
Width: 9 ¼ inches (23.5 cm)