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Posts from the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

Portmeirion Magic City

I think this design is just magic. It is appropriately named Magic City. The design was inspired by exotic middle eastern inspired domed buildings, and always reminds me of this time of year with a festive look about the design with its use of colour and line which hint of fireworks, Christmas lights etc, as well as the domed buildings of the Middle East.

It was designed by Susan William-Ellis at Portmeirion Pottery in 1966, and has become one of the great British classics of the era. The forms were used in several series which Susan designed around this time – and the shape was called “Serif”. Serif refers to the shape of the handle – and is a reference to how a serif is used in typography/calligraphy to add flare to the end of a corner.

The Serif series of shapes was originally used on the Cypher and Jupiter patterns with a raised relief finish, but it is Magic City which became the most commercially successful. Magic Garden is another lovely design on the Serif series of shapes.

Of interest –  if you are in or visiting London 2019 – there is an exhibition/display in the ceramics room 146 “Portmeirion – Pottery Trendsetter” until Sunday 28th July

Portmeirion Magic City Tea Cup

Portmeirion Magic City Tea Cup

Portmeirion Magic City Plate

Portmeirion Magic City Plate

Portmeirion Magic City Coffee Pot

Portmeirion Magic City Coffee Pot

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Elizabeth Lissaman “The Art of Pottery”, Objectspace, New Zealand

Recently while in New Zealand I was very fortunate to see an outstanding exhibition at Objectspace, Ponsonby, of the work of Elizabeth Lissaman: “The Art of Pottery”

I have never come across the work of this important Artist/Potter before, and it captivated me immediately. In addition to the unique beauty and skill of the work, was the variety and sheer scope of the exhibition.

Elizabeth Lissaman’s Pottery immediately reminded me of the work of other international potters and artists of the early 20th Century– like that of expat Australian Anne Dangar, the Artists of the Bloomsbury group in the U.K. – especially that of Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant. I could also see similarities in the use of colour and pattern by Lissaman to the work of Danish Svend Hammershøi and other Artists at the Herman Kahler pottery.

While it is unlikely that Elizabeth Lissaman would have been exposed to the works of these Artists and Potters the common influences and inspirations of the international Arts and Crafts movement, the Art Deco Movement, Modernism, and the spirit of Individualism are all apparent – but given a unique New Zealand interpretation by Lissaman.

With a career spanning nearly 70 years, Elizabeth Lissaman is one of New Zealand’s first studio potters, who remarkably for the 1930s was able to make a living out of her work.

Elizabeth Lissaman was born in 1901 and was educated in Wellington where she was first introduced to pottery making by her art teacher DK Richmond. In 1923 she spent 10 months in Sydney furthering her own study of pottery.

She spent the next 15 years back in rural Marlborough NZ, and during the Depression years sold many art deco pieces to department stores to supplement earnings from the farm she ran with her husband, Henry Hall.

In 1937 with three young children, they moved to Horowhenua where Elizabeth also began tutoring pottery. After the war, they moved to a farm at Tahuna near Morrisville in Waikato.

Lissaman along with the female potters of her generation is now being celebrated for her focus on uniquely-inspired ceramic practice.

An unsung hero of her time, Lissaman defended her right to decorate her work as she wished, rejecting calls for the new wave of New Zealand potters to develop and adhere to a distinctively typical style. In 1969, she wrote, “We are a small nation of individualists who strive, on our own, to develop arts which satisfy something within ourselves.”

Elizabeth Lissaman at Obectspace:(Left to right) Elizabeth Lissaman, Jug, with reptile – 1934 Earthenware with onglaze decoration Alistair and Clare Fleming Collection Elizabeth Lissaman, Vase, with bird – 1934 Earthenware with underglaze decoration Alistair and Clare Fleming Collection Elizabeth Lissaman, Vase, with bird – 1932 Earthenware with underglaze decoration Gabby Cox Collection

Elizabeth Lissaman at Obectspace: (Left to right)
Elizabeth Lissaman, Jug, with reptile – 1934,Earthenware with onglaze decoration, Alistair and Clare Fleming Collection
Elizabeth Lissaman, Vase, with bird – 1934, Earthenware with underglaze decoration, Alistair and Clare Fleming Collection
Elizabeth Lissaman, Vase, with bird – 1932, Earthenware with underglaze decoration, Gabby Cox Collection.
Image Ray Garrod

As a child of the suffrage movement, her ambition to forge her own path never wavered as she sought a successful future in pottery. Lissaman received no formal tertiary education, working alone in various parts of rural New Zealand. With a lack of locally available supplies, Lissaman sourced her materials from within New Zealand herself, digging and bagging the beautiful terracotta clay by hand.

More after the page break…..

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Anne Dangar Exhibition

Anne Dangar, Ceramics from Moly-Sabata.

Art Gallery of New South Wales. 11 Aug – 28 Oct 2018.

Better acclaimed in her country of adoption, France, Anne Dangar (b.1885 Australia-d.1951 France ) is known for her innovative pottery designs that combine traditional techniques and modernist designs.

The Art Gallery of NSW is holding a display of major acquisitions by this important Artist from August 11th – 28 October 2018.

From the Art Gallery NSW Website:

“An early exponent of cubism in Australia, (Dangar) was closely involved with local modernists Dorrit Black, Rah Fizelle and Grace Crowley. She moved permanently to France in 1930, becoming the central figure in an artists commune, “Moly-Sabata’, by French cubist painter Albert Gleizes.

The Gallery has acquired a significant group of Dangar’s ceramics which were in the private collection of Gleizes and Juliette Roche, with the support of the Fondation Albert Gleizes and the Mollie Douglas bequest fund. Many of these works recently featured in an Anne Dangar survey exhibition in France – at the Musée de Valence – where she is highly regarded. These new acquisitions will be exhibited for the first time in Australia, alongside other Dangar works from the Gallery’s holdings”

You can read more about Anne’s life on the Australian Dictionary of Biography HERE , A few excerpts from which are below:

While assisting at the Sydney Art School in 1929, she met opposition when she attempted to introduce ideas about cubism and modern art, and was further frustrated by the parochial attitude of her family. Early in 1930 she travelled to the south of France where she joined an artists’ commune, Moly-Sabata, which had been set up at Sablons, (near Ardêche, France) by the cubist Albert Gleizes and his wife Juliette, née Roches.

Dangar became the central figure at Moly-Sabata……. Respected as a teacher of drawing and design, Dangar successfully exhibited her pottery in France; in 1939 she spent six months in Morocco, based at Fez, as ‘monitress’ to local potters, and was in turn influenced by their traditional Islamic designs..Back in  France in 1947 her own kiln was built  and she worked there until her death in 1951. 


To see more of Dangar’s ceramics online – there is a collection of lovely images of Dangar’s ceramics on the blog of collector and writer David Herbert  HERE  where the lovely teapot below is from:

Anne Dangar Teapot

Anne Dangar Teapot, Collection of David Herbert via his blog “itstartedwithajug.blogspot”

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NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s”

Melbourne based Artist John Hinds recently made a generous donation of 20th Century commercial tableware to the NGV International Melbourne which is large component of an exhibition running currently entitled “A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930s-1980s” . It runs 30th March 2018 to January 2019.

The collection began when John had amassed op-shop ceramics to construct tiered cake stands. Although they were fabulous, they sold slowly, and he finally abandoned the project. After he had cleared away the dross, remaining were about  100 boldly patterned plates (mostly English & Japanese) from the 60s & 70s. These were donated  to The Powerhouse in Sydney and you can view them online HERE

As always happens, John kept on finding more objects, and the idea grew of donating a more comprehensive collection to National Gallery of Victoria.

The first donation was mainly ceramics. Names included Broadhurst, Wedgwood, Meakin, Mikasa, Midwinter, Arabia, Denby, Hornsea, Langley, Rosenthal and Portmeirion.

John worked on adding to the collection by amassing pieces from an alphabetical list of well known International Designers. Names such as Gerald Benney (UK) Susie Cooper (UK) Stig Lindberg (Sweden) Raymond Loewy (USA) David Mellor (UK) Keith Murray (NZ-UK) Jens Quistgaad (Denmark) Robert Welch (UK) Russel Wright (USA) and Eva Zeisel (USA).

Decorative Arts collections in most Australian museums until now have concentrated on the aristocratic and the rare, and none had a comprehensive survey of post war Modern Design – in particular tableware design.

The time had come to change this John believed, and with the collaboration of the NGV which is now more focused on design, and curator Amanda Dunsmore, the idea for the exhibition was developed with enthusiasm.

The result is this exhibition which provides an timely overview of  Modern Tableware Design, 1930s to 1980s.

NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

Display NGV International, ” A Modern Life, Tablewares 1930–1980s

You can preview more of the items presented in the NGV Exhibition HERE

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Louisiana Museum Denmark, Picasso Ceramics Exhibition

The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark is holding an exhibition of the ceramics of Pablo Picasso from 1.2.2018 to 27.5.2018 in its 60th Anniversary year.

It has over 150 pieces by Picasso, and it is the first major exhibition in Scandinavia focusing on the later and lesser known Ceramics by Picasso – arguably the most important artist of the 20th Century.

This Museum page from the Louisiana, also has a well put together biography of Picasso worth reading.

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Gutte Eriksen Exhibition, Clay Musuem Denmark

I was interested to read about an important exhibition coming up first thing in 2018 featuring the work of one of my favourite Danish Potters of the 20th Century – Gutte Eriksen.

The Clay Museum in Denmark has an exhibition running 17th January to 27th May 2018 celebrating the work of Gutte, who would have been 100 years old in 2018. A summary of the exhibition translated From the Clay Museum website: Read more