I’ve long been a fan of the flamboyant style of ceramics produced by Kalmar Pottery in Australia during the 1950s and 1960s. Pieces from this pottery with their shiny lustre glazes and gold trim, display a high level of skill and craftsmanship. They are also representative of the very popular style of this era, purchased by the ordinary person for display in their home.
Kalmar was a husband and wife pottery operated by Irene and Julius Kalmar, emigrants from Hungary after World War II who arrived in Australia in 1949. Like so many post WWII emigrant and refugees Artists and Potters to Australia their contribution to the Art and Craft landscape of Australia was significant….but overlooked. There are some fascinating snippets in the TROVE Database about their escape from communist Hungary, and how they had to leave their children with their Grandmother for safety, to be finally re-united in Australia several years later for a huge monetary cost.
The Kalmar pottery operated in Sydney during the 1950s to the mid 1960s when it was forced into liquidation.
Irene was the modeller and decorator of the work, while husband Julius looked after all the other pottery processes. The name later changed to Australian Art Ceramics Products (AACP) when it was registered as a company, albeit short-lived.
Fish, Birds, Flowers, Cornucopia, and Animal Figurines were common subjects. The base of Kalmar pottery is usually (but not always) stamped with Kalmar and a form number. Some pieces will have both the Kalmar stamp and an AACP stamp.
After the pottery closed Irene apparently went on to creating mosaic murals according to the Australian Women’s Weekly which has an article about her mural works in February 1962. I’ve only read about these mosaic murals and can not find any photos of them – so would love to hear from anyone who has a record of them…or any other information I can add to the Kalmar story.