Tag Archives: modernism

American Modernist Ceramic Artists


It is generally recognised that Modernist design had its initial inception in Europe in 1919, with the opening of the Bauhaus school of Design in Germany. It was founded with the idea of creating a “total” work of art in which all arts, including architecture, would eventually be brought together. The Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture and modern design.This was also the major driving force behind the Mid-Century era of art, which spanned from the early 1940’s to the early 80’s. In the USA, the sparse, clean lines of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and the emerging acceptance of the Scandinavian design ethic, had an incisive influence on interior design and ceramic styles. Below are a collection of some of the many American artists that made fantastic  contributions to this unique phase of art and design.

 Clyde Burt :

Ceramic artist Clyde Burt (1922-1981) is widely recognized as a pioneer in the American studio ceramics movement. He studied at Fort Wayne Art School and the Cape Cod School of Art and completed graduate work under Maija Grotell at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He exhibited at the Ceramic Nationals in Syracuse in 1954, 1956 and 1958. In 1957 he won the Art Institute of Chicago Designer-Craftsman Award. His pieces are in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Everson Museum of Art.


Clyde Burt Lidded Vessel

Clyde Burt Lidded Vessel





Nuns wall plaque lyde Burt ca.-1960

Ceramic Wall Relief  – Clyde Burt   c       a – 1960

( 1stdibs )




Large ceramic vessel wtih etched design

Large ceramic vessel wtih etched design – Clyde Burt




Clyde Burt Glazed stoneware vessel with lid

Clyde Burt – Glazed modernist stoneware vessel with lid




Clyde Burt pottery vase

Clyde Burt pottery vase




Clyde Burt vase, stoneware

Clyde Burt vase, stoneware

(  Clyde Burt Ceramics | Facebook )




AAA Auctions Clyde Burt

Clyde Burt well panel,plate & vases

( AAA Auctions )


 Large stoneware bottle form vase with an incised geometric design – Clyde Burt

Height 16.5 inches  ( Trocadero – Studio 2.0 )

Monumental glazed earthenware vase

Clyde Burt  – Monumental glazed earthenware vase.This dates from early in Burt’s career when he was working in Ohio in the 1950’s

Height 33 inches ( Wright Auctions 2002 )




Clyde Burt Tiled Wall Panel

Clyde Burt Tiled Wall Panel

(  Clyde Burt Ceramics | Facebook )




Clyde Burt vase Daytona

Clyde Burt – Vase, Dayton-Melrose, OH, 1955




Clyde Burt ceramic vase

Clyde Burt ceramic vase





Clyde Burt ceramic wall panel

Clyde Burt ceramic wall panel

(  Clyde Burt Ceramics | Facebook )





Large Vessel Clyde Burt

Large Bottle –  Clyde Burt





Modernist Bowl Clyde Burt

Modernist Bowl – Clyde Burt






Clyde Burt modernist vase





Clyde Burt Vase

Clyde Burt Vase





Mid century Vase

Mid centuryVase -Clyde Burt




Clyde Burt-1963-1964

Modernist Figurines  – Clyde Burt





Clyde Burt Ceramic Vessel Incised design

Clyde Burt Ceramic Vessel  Incised design



 Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman :


Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman are skilled craftsmen and designers who were instrumental in defining Mid-Century Modern home decor.  After attending the “For Modern Living” exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 1949, where they encountered the design duo of Charles and Ray Eames, the couple decided to devote a life and career to design . Here, for their generation, was a fresh and exciting alternative to the “mundane, what-your-mother-had, doilies-on-a-table” kind of traditional home decor. “We didn’t know we had missed it, because it hadn’t been there. * Jerome recalls, “If the Eames can do it, why can’t we?”; so they opened the Jenev Design Studio (a combination of their names) in West Los Angeles. They began producing slip-cast ceramics and eventually expanded their offering to include a  wide variety of home decor and architectural elements. The business name changed to ERA Industries in 1956.



Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman collection

Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman modernist ceramic collection


Evelyn Ackerman – Horse  1950’s




Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman Ceramic Bottles

Jerome and Evelyn Ackerman  – Ceramic Bottles

Jerome Ackerman modernist vase

Female Figures vase by Jerome Ackerman, 1953

( Mid2Mod .blogspot )

Ackerman rain mosaic

Rain – Evelyn Ackerman Mosaic


Gertrud & Otto Natzler :


Gertrud  Natzler’s collaboration with her husband, Otto Natzler, extended over almost four decades and produced some of the twentieth century’s finest ceramics. They are held by over seventy museums throughout the world and by countless private collections. Her nearly twenty-five thousand hand-thrown pots, bowls, and bottles are celebrated for their refinement, delicacy, and proportion  Her husband brought exceptional color and texture to the work with the glazes he invented and developed by experimentation, carefully documenting several thousand formulas.


Natzler modernist bowl

Natzler modernist bowl





Gertrud & Otto Natzler folded bowl, yellow glazed earthenware

Gertrud & Otto Natzler folded bowl with yellow glazed earthenware




Natzler crater bowl, glazed earthenware with burst-bubble glaze

Natzler crater bowl  -glazed earthenware with a burst-bubble glaze and blue highlights.

( Treadway Toomey Auctions – sold )

Gertrud & Otto Natzler earthenware-footed bowl

Gertrud & Otto Natzler earthenware footed bowl

Natzler tall bottle with lip

Natzler Tall bottle with lip – 1962



Gertrud & Otto Natzler vessel

Gertrud & Otto Natzler  – Monumental vase – 1957

( LAMA – Los Angeles Modern Auctions -Realized: $93,750 )

Otto & Gertrud Natzler ceramics at Common Ground AMOCO

Otto & Gertrud Natzler ceramics at Common Ground, AMOCO





Otto & Gertrud Natzler Bowl

Otto & Gertrud Natzler Bowl with a lava glaze.




Gertrud & Otto Natzler bowl 1954

Gertrud & Otto Natzler  – Velvet Chartreuse glazed ceramic – 1945

( LAMA )



Natzler bowl folded shape bowl

Gertrud & Otto Natzler – folded shape bowl




Gertrud & Otto Natzler Tomato Red Vase

Gertrud & Otto Natzler – Tomato Red Vase





Gertrud and Otto Natzler

Gertrud and Otto Natzler

 Russell Wright :



Russel Wright for Baur Pottery

Centrepiece bowl designed by Russell Wright for Bauer Pottery.


Russel Wright American Modern dinner set

Russel Wright – American Modern dinner set


See more Russell Wright ceramics HERE


Eva Zeisel :  ( 1906 –  2011 )

Known for her organic modernist ceramic works, Eva Zeisel was truly one of the foremost designers of the Twentieth Century, with a career that spanned into the Twenty First Century. She was the first designer in America to produce an all white dinner service. After settling in the USA, she started designing for pretty large-sized companies like General Mills, Rosenthal China, Castelton China and more. Zeisel was also proud to share her knowledge, and eventually became a professor of Industrial Design at the Pratt Institute in New York. One of her career highlights was in 1946, where she had a one-woman show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She was still designing at the age of 100.

Eva Zeisel was continually intrigued by what she called her “playful search for beauty.” A person of delightfully defiant spirit, the designer was just beginning her career when she declared war on the fashionable avant-garde. “I didn’t accept the purism of modern design,” she said. “In my definition, if it gave beauty to the eye, it was beauty.”


Zeisel Art Deco coffee set

Eva Zeisel  – Art Deco coffee set





Eva Ziesel carafe

Eva Ziesel carafe and tray






Eva Zeisel jugs

Eva Zeisel jugs

“It’s easy to do something stunning that stays in a collector’s cabinet.  But Eva’s designs reached people at the table, where they gather”  – Paola Antonelli






Large milk pitchers

Large milk pitchers – Eva Ziesel

“The clean lines of modern design can be successfully combined with sensuous, classic shape”  – Eva Zeisel





Eva Zeisel Vase

Eva Zeisel Vase






Eva Zeisel 1983

Eva Zeisel  1983





Eva Zeisel Sauce Bowl

Eva Zeisel Sauce Bowl






 Beatrice Wood :  (1893-1998)

As a potter, Wood was fascinated by the glazing process from the beginning, and dedicated much energy to the study of luster glazing techniques. She also studied briefly with master potters Getrud and Otto Natzler in 1940, who impressed upon her the value of the ceramic vessel as fine art. . In 1948 Wood began to establish a home and studio in Ojai,California and over the next fifteen years began perfecting her own version of the luster glaze.

She was lifelong member of the Theosophical Society which would greatly influence her artistic philosophies. Her path was also shaped by Dada, the art movement of which Wood was a seminal part, which rejected reason and logic; prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition. By the early 1970’s, Beatrice Wood had established a reputation as a fine artist and emerged as a leading American exponent of luster pottery. She eventually turned her focus to more complex, decorative vessels, and her work was increasingly sought after by galleries and museums. By the time of her death at the age of 105, Wood had become a well-recognized figure in the world of ceramic art, renowned as much for her luster glazes as for her longevity, vitality, and charm.



Beatrice Wood ceramic vessel

Beatrice Wood ceramic vessel





Beatrice Wood ceramic bowl

Beatrice Wood ceramic bowl







Beatrice Wood vase, bulbous shape covered in a volcanic textured yellow glaze with subtle black highlights.

( Treadway Toomey Auctions )




Mottled-Glaze-Ovoid-Crimped bowl

Mottled Glaze, Ovoid Crimped bowl – Beatrice Wood

( roadside-america.com )

Beatrice Wood

Gold Luster Vessel with Figures  1985





Beatrice Wood bowl

Beatrice Wood – deep tourquise glazed bowl

Beatrice Wood wheel throwing

Beatrice Wood





Charles Ray Eames Elephant

Charles Ray Eames Elephant




Harrison McIntosh :


Born in California in 1914, Harrison McIntosh was a master at his craft, setting aesthetic standards of elegance, precision, technique and design in ceramics. As a pioneer in the post-World War II Southern California crafts movement, his ceramic art continues to be recognized beyond today.


Harrison McIntosh Pottery Vase

Harrison McIntosh Pottery Vase




Platter-1984Harrison Mckintosh

Glazed Platter Harrison McIntosh




Harrison McIntosh

Harrison McIntosh

( Otis Legacy )





Double Gourd Bottles -1950

Double Gourd Bottles – Harrison McIntosh



Harrison McIntosh ceramics at Common Ground, AMOCO

* See more at: http://www.craftcouncil.org/magazine/article/mid-century-modernists#sthash.udAAzkhK.dpuf




Retro pottery yeah !


Mid-century, vintage, retro pottery styles.


Laminex, shag-pile, plastic pots, automobile tail fins and a lot of other fads from the 50’s and 60’s didn’t quite make it into the new century except with various niche collectors.  However the ceramics from this era have stood the test of time and are still sought after and used.

Jean-de-Lespinasse mid century modernist vase in black, white and yellow stripes

Jean de Lespinasse – An impressive and unusual vase by this decorative potter who worked from his studio in Nice during the 1950’s.

    The 50’s, 60’s and 70’s were groovy times, the designer and trend setters were out to make a statement. Colours were bold and bright, the Atomic-age had arrived. It was time to get futuristic and modern. Women even wore stylish Yves St Laurent dresses to go shopping. The mid-century cultural revolution was unstoppable and they were daring to dream. Some fantastic style innovations were born of this era. Music, fashion and consumer products all got a huge makeover from the more conservative 40‘s. Designers and manufactures had grasped the power of marketing to a competitive minded consumer and were producing an ongoing stream of modern innovative styles. And the ceramics of this time were no exception. French, German, Italian, English, Scandinavian and the USA were all strong contributors to modernist ceramic designs in this fascinating period.

Image of couple shopping in the 50's

50’s shopping

Cyclope Pottery Annecy, France - blue lava glaze jug and vase

Cyclope Pottery Annecy, France. All are glazed with the typical blue Emaux des Glaciers, for which this pottery was renown.

( AnSeta )

    I find the popularity of the lava glazes of this era  intriguing. During this time the bomb was widely feared. A Doctor Strangelove scenerio loomed large in peoples minds.. Lava comes from explosions, so its widespread use could have possibly evolved from this subconcious fear. The same can be said for the volcanic glazes, which were reninforced with  red, orange and black firey colours. Some of the mid-century pottery were often bulky and heavy with very thick glazes, sometimes multi layered up to four layers deep with different colours and textures.Their appearance was very grounding, which maybe represented a balance to the explorations of alternative consciouness that were actively pursued at the time. Abstract designs were popular, and pop art designs also crept in along with some psychedelic creations.

Retro 60's decor with geometric black and silver wallpaper

Retro decor




Elegant 1950’s dish by Jean Austruy. Glazed with a smooth lava like glaze with an abstract design. Length: 11.5ins




West German mid-century vase in black and yellow abstract style

Vintage yellow and black West German vase

  Mid-century, vintage style ceramics are still loved by collectors and are becoming increasingly popular. The Atomic-era and Jet-age led to many abstract and innovative designs where streamlined contours were fused with angular geometric shapes.They encapsulate a time capsule of this amazing era and they reflect all it stood for.




Bitossi--Seta--compote--Italy-circa-1950-s---Flickr---robin parfitt

Bitossi  ‘Seta’  compote  Italy circa 1950′ s

robin parfitt – flickr



Mid century decor furnishings, mustard yellow sofa, chrome brutalist mirror, mirrored coffee table

Mid-Century sixties decor




 Large Mid Century Vase by Accolay, France in black and burnt orange glaze

 Large Mid Century Vase by Accolay, France.

 Green Grey glossy glaze, topped by a rust on beige ground.



Carstens Vase - West Germany with white volcanic lava glaze panels on olive green matt glaze

Carstens 1245 25 (cm) Vase  – West Germany

60’s 70’s Retro Mid century Fat Lava.



Bay West-German retro vase with geometric squares

 Fabulous West German vase manufactured in 1967 by Bay.



Hallelujah-Aveiro Atomic drop vase, modernist style

Hallelujah Aveiro drop shaped vase with trapezoidal blades – Portugal



Gebruder-Conradt-Schwabisch modernist jug and vase

Gebruder Conradt Schwabische Kunsttopferei



Claude-Conover Mid-Century striped vessel, tan colour

Large “Son Of Chaac” vase by Claude Conover; c. 1960  – USA

Height 22.5 “



Soholm-Denmark-heavy-Stoneware vase

Soholm Denmark heavy Stoneware vessel



Carl Cooper dish with Aboriginal style unglazed sgraffito decoration

Carl Cooper dish with unglazed sgraffito decoration


Retro 50's - 60's Italian Ceramic Vase

Italian Ceramic Vase 50’s – 60’s


Bitossi-Italian-Pottery-Vintage-orange vase and dish

Bitossi Italian Pottery  Orange and Tan fruit bowl and vase designed by Aldo Londi  circa 1960

( afterglow retro )



 Vintage German vase - 50's - 60's with abstract motif

 Vintage German vase – 50’s – 60’s




Imposing-vase-made-by-Schlossberg-c1960 West-German tapered cylindrical vase

Schlossberg Mid Century vase

West German, 1960





Dutch Phillips space age vintage lamp, design by Louis Kalff



Matt purple modernist retro vessels, white lava glaze panels by Carstens Tönnieshof.

West German Pottery –  Carstens Tönnieshof.

( The End of History shop )




Mid-Century-textured-vase with abstract motifs

Modernist vintage vase



Vase with mottled texture by California Originals with bold modernist shape

Mottle textured vase by California Originals, probably dating from the 1950s.



Elchinger-Ceramique modernist ceramic dish with mottled textural surface and red dots

Elchinger Ceramique



Vallauris modernist vase with trailing white drip decoration on matt black surface

Shapely example of Vallauris decorative pottery vase, glazed in matte black with brightly enamelled interior and a trailing white drip decoration.



 Tree ceramic vessels with mottled glazes from the great Gunnar Nylund of Rorstrand

A  mottled mix from the great Gunnar Nylund of Rorstrand fame. Swedish mid-century at its finest.

( End of History shop )



Soholm-Space-Age Atomic vessel, turquoise colour

Danish Soholm Space Age Pottery – Rockets and Circles



Modern retro vase by Anzolo Fuga for A.V.E.M., Murano, Italy.

Fine & rare Windows vase by Anzolo Fuga for A.V.E.M., Murano, Italy.



Large Handled Jug glazed in bright red with a dark Fat Lava overglaze by Fohr Keramik

Large Handled Jug glazed in bright red with a dark Fat Lava overglaze.

This item was made by the Fohr Keramik factory in Ransbach.

 The company was founded in 1859 and is still in production today.



VEB Haldensleben (formerly Carstens Uffrecht) fat lava glaze vase

Vase by VEB Haldensleben (formerly Carstens Uffrecht) – E.Germany

(  Eclectivist – etsy )



Mid Century modernist vase USA

American Mid Century modernist vase – 60’s



West German incised surface decorated Vase - Sawa 1950s

West German  Scrafitto Vase – Sawa 1950s

pastpresenthome – etsy


Twin handled mid century modern vase/jug

Mid-Century Modern Abstract Jug

Image source – http://fancy4glass.ca/




Scheurich Keramik vase



Vallauris studio of Auguste Lucchesi with mottled lava glaze and abstract yellow and red motifs

Vallauris tall vase from the Vallauris studio of Auguste Lucchesi.

Glazed in mottled black and white drip. Decorated with bright enamel abstract motifs.

( AnSeta )



Vallauris-lava-glaze modernist ceramic vase

Vallauris  France ‘Fat Lava’ Studio Pottery Vase   circa 1960’s

 afterglow retro



Francis Triay Neolithic range. kitchen ware mid-century

Selection of pottery by Francis Triay (See Designers) from the Neolithic range.  Made during the 60s



 Swing series vase Made in 1974 by Royal KPM.

Extraordinary Op Art vase from the Swing series. Made in 1974 by Royal KPM.

(  Eclectivist – etsy )



Cyclope-Pottery-Annecy-Emaux des Glaciers fat lava glaze vase

Cyclope Pottery Annecy Emaux des Glaciers  – 1950’s-1960’s



 VEB Haldensleben (East Germany) Mid Century handled vase with fat lava geometric pattern

Mid century handled vase by VEB Haldensleben (East Germany)



Rossello modernist pitcher from Vallauris

Striking example of Vallauris pottery by Rossello.

Little is known about this potter, who was one of the many working in Vallauris during the boom years of the 1960’s.



Modernist mid century vase with long neck and flaring rim with cut out

Studio art pottery vase with flaring rim.

height 12 inches


Retro vintage ceramic cats - salt and pepper shakers

 Cute Pair Retro Vintage 1960’s Siamese Cats Pottery Salt & Pepper shakers



Duemler-und-Breiden fat lava glaze vessels

Dumler and Breiden – Germany

( and 1 intruder )

via  J’adore Lava Fat – flickr

Dumler & Breiden large handled vase

Dumler & Breiden vase

Alessio Tasca mid-centruy bottles 1961

Retro ceramic bottles Alessio Tasca

Italy 1961

Antonia-Campi-,-1951 Mid Century modern

Mid-Century modernist umbrella stand – Antonia Campi

 Italy 1951

West German Bay-red glaze mid-century vase with black motif

West German Bay ceramic vase

Bruno_Gambone mid centruy modernist bottle

Bruno Gambone Italian modernist bottle

Fat Lava ceramic vase. 1950

Fat Lava ceramic vase.

Germany 1950

Guido Gambone vase 60's with spiral motifs

Guido Gambone vintage modern vase

Guido Gambone red geometric modernist bottle with yellow circle motif

Guido Gambone, Itlay


Rathjen biomorphic lamp base


West German Pottery Vase drip glaze Fat Lava by Bay

Bay Fat Lava vase



Ceramic White Poodle – Lisa Larson

Gustavsberg, Sweden




Jean Austruy, French




West-German-Rare-Colorful-V lave glaze

Abstract West German lava glaze mid-century vase



West German 1960s-70s pottery Jug StupidEggInteriors

West German 60’s – 70’s jug

StupidEggInteriors – etsy





Lava glazed Lampbase by Le Vaucour, Vallauris






Russel Wright retrospective

Russel Wright headshot

“—because it is an honest expression of present-day living, modern design should interest all thinking Americans.”  … Russel Wright

Blue teapot by Russel Wright

American modernist designer Russell Wright


Most collector enthusiasts of modernism are familiar with Russel Wright’s ubiquitous, colorful dinnerware designs. Wright is credited with being an influential designer and the one most responsible for the American shift in taste toward modern design in the mid 20 th century.  American Modern™, which  he produced in 1937 with Bauer Pottery  was his most bold statement in that effort.

With over 250 million pieces sold, American Modern™ is this country’s original entry in modern style of dinnerware, and was the largest selling for that period. Russel Wright revolutionized the American home and the way people lived there. His iconic inexpensive, mass produced dinnerware, furniture, appliances, and textiles were not only visually and technically innovative, but were also the tools to achieve his concept of “easier living,” a unique American lifestyle that was gracious yet contemporary and informal. The universal appeal of Russel Wrights pottery designs has been vindicated by the reintroduction of his American Modern™ dinnerware set.

Salmon coloured Russel Wright ceramic sugar bowl and creamer


Bean brown pitcher


Wright was preoccupied with two design concepts, both aspiring to serve the masses, for much of his career. The “American Way” was formulated in the late 1930s and spawned a product line of ceramics and furniture.The second “Easier Living” was a philosophy first published as a guidebook in 1950. It claimed that families should share chores and reduce personal possessions “to make maintenance easier,” among other things.

In the same way that Pottery Barn has influenced 1990s American taste and design sensibility, the “American Way,” peddled through pamphlets and public appearances to promote the wildly popular American Modern dinnerware, introduced homeowners to an affordable decorating esthetic during the Depression. By the time ” Easier Living “came out, Wright had become obsessed with labor saving devices and esthetic order.

Russel Wright ceramic teapots

As far a s marketing goes, Russel Wright beat Martha Stewart to the punch by 50 years. He was the first designer to successfully market his wares using his own name as a well-defined brand, and Wright rode the crest of the Modernist wave for over 20 years.

One of Russel Wrights personal achievements was the creation of Manitoga . When Wright first found this property in 1942, it had been damaged by a century of quarrying and lumbering. Over the next three decades, until his death in 1976, he carefully redesigned and re-sculpted Manitoga’s 75 acres using native plants, his training as a theater designer and sculptor, and his innovative design ideas. Though the landscape appears natural, it is actually a careful design of native trees, rocks, ferns, mosses, and wild flowers. Wright created over four miles of paths that wind over creeks, into woods, among boulders, and through ferns and mountain laurel.

This became his residence and design studio. Manitoga is the only 20th century modern homesite open to the public in New York, and one of few on the east coast. Wright considered it his most important creative effort. In 1996 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Russel Wright creamer, contemporary design

Russel Wright creamer



Russell Wright mustard colour Carafe modernist style

Russell Wright  Carafe




Dinner set by Russel Wright

MCM Eva Zeisel Dinnerware set, a similar modernist style to Russel Wright



Russel Wright Seafoam coloured bowl and plate

Seafoam bowl and plate

Abstract ceramic sculpture by Russel Wright

Russel Wright



Russel Wright Salt n Pepper shakers maroon colour

Salt and Pepper Shakers – Russel Wright



Russel Wright Cup n saucer

Cup and Saucer – Russel Wright



Russel Wright jade colour glaze ceramic platter

Russel Wright split dish



Manitoga Russsel Wright




Russel Wright Manitoga


Russel Wright dinnerware cantaloupe

Russel Wright ‘Iroquois Cantaloupe’ dinnerware.




Russel Wright bowl



Russel wright Bauer free form dish

Russel Wright  for BAUER -free-form dish with mottled beige exterior and chocolate brown interior.




Russel Wright Ceramic candle holders

Candle Holders – Russel Wright



RUSSEL WRIGHT Long boat-shaped vessel

 Long boat shaped vessel covered in turquoise and deep plum glaze.



Russel Wright Pillow Vase

Russel Wright for Bauer – pillow vase covered in matte apricot speckled glaze.




Avocado green pouring jug - Russel Wright

Russel Wright jug



Two Russel Wright ceramic vessels - contemporary design

Two RUSSELL WRIGHT for BAUER free-form vases with glossy pale gray glaze.



Russel Wright  for Bauer oval vase with mottled apricot exterior and chocolate brown interior.



Russel Wright



Four vases - Russel Wright

Russel Wright vases