The Story of Enzo Arzenton
Born in Vicenza in the northeast of Italy, Enzo Arzenton was only six years old when his school teacher became aware of his immense talent for drawing. The children had been drawing small sketches on paper, but curious about Enzo's abilities, she asked him to draw on the blackboard using color chalk. Enzo asked for a stool so he could reach the upper levels of the blackboard and began to draw a beautiful rural landscape. What astounded his teacher was the fact that he drew in perspective, "On the hills I made the more distant trees smaller and I drew the houses according to their distance. The small, winding roads were at first narrow and then wider near the valley, where the trees and houses also became larger. I drew the people in a realistic manner, tall or short depending on where they stood in the picture," recalls Enzo.
The teacher was clearly amazed as were the other instructors who were called in to view the blackboard masterpiece. "They said that if my teacher had not seen the drawing being done before her eyes, she would not have believed it."
Soon Enzo was visiting other schools in Vicenza to entertain students and teachers with his drawings. His nickname "Raffaello" and the admiration he instilled in others encouraged him in his fond dream to become a great artist. "I was taken by the urge to draw everywhere, on any surface, on wrapping paper, paper bags, cardboard and walls. I drew with the chalk used to plaster the pipes of the stove."
Eventually he convinced his parents to buy him a small box of oil colors and some canvases. They were poor quality, but Enzo took refuge in his attic and began painting the beautiful farmland outside his window.
Enzo came from a poor family, and they lived on the outermost edge of the city. He remembers the first time as a young boy when he visited the historical district of Vicenza and was struck by the town's exquisite architecture and classical works of art. In his spare time Enzo began designing palaces and villas, one of them, a magnificent home that he hoped would one day belong to him.
A book about Michelangelo inspired Enzo to begin sculpting, using clay from the plowed fields in front of his house. His work was excellent, but his parents did not feel it was prudent for a young man to open his own studio. After training received at the Art Institute of Vicenza, Enzo continued to struggle with his dreams and aspirations, hoping that one day he could make a living doing the work he loved.
His opportunity came when a cousin convinced a customer to commission Enzo for an important job, a reproduction of Palladio's Basilica on the scale of 1 to 200. The finished piece, done in silver, was magnificent, winning widespread acclaim by all who saw it. Enzo Arzenton's career was launched.
During the next few years, Enzo's reputation grew and although he was very busy doing commissions for other factories, compliance with their ideas and wishes did not allow him the artistic freedom that he wished for.
Enzo decided to open his own factory, appropriately called the House of Laurenz, a clever combination of his name and his wife's name Laura. In the 1960s Enzo began the prestigious line of sculptural scenes known as the Laurenz Classic Collection. Expressing a full range of emotions from heart-warming poignancy to laughter-provoking moments, they have received world-wide recognition.
When the House of Laurenz was still in operation, they occasionally accepted commissions for one-of-a-kind sculptures. Michael Jackson, an avid fan of Enzo and a collector of the Laurenz Collection of Disney Characters, is immortalized in fine porcelain as "The Thriller".
One could easily call Enzo Arzenton a renaissance man as his prodigious talents extend into many areas. His musical hobbies include piano and guitar playing. He is a gifted tenor with two years training at his city's musical conservatory. Since an early age he has enjoyed writing poetry, and he has never forsaken his first love, painting.
Of his wife Laura whom he describes as the ideal woman, he says, "her consideration and patience in trying to understand my complex personality are indeed admirable. We think Enzo and Laura make quite a pair!
In 2002 the Arzentons decided to retire so they closed their factory and production of both the Classic Collection and the Disney Collection has stopped. A limited amount of sculptures are still available, and when those are gone they will only be obtainable on the secondary market.
Enzo continues painting, sculpting and playing music.
Every chance they have, the Arzentons do what they love to do together -- Ball Room dancing.