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




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

Russel Wright  Carafe




Dinner set by Russel Wright

Russel Wright dinner set



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