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Posts tagged ‘Negro Series’

Marianne Starck “Negro” Series, Michael Andersen & Sons (Part 2), Variations

The “Negro Series” sometimes referred to as the “Tribal” series was designed by Marianne Starck in the 1950s for Michael Andersen & Sons on the island of Bornholm, Denmark. You can read more about it in Part 1 HERE. 

In addition to the strikingly bold, black and white designs there were some variations with this series. Because there doesn’t seem to be much documentation about this series of designs –  It is hard to know sometimes if pieces were designed as part of the Negro series, or simply colour variations added later due to its popularity.

Also you will find that many of the shapes and forms used on the Negro series, were used for other designs coming out of the pottery during these mid-century years.

Henrik in Denmark, who is a passionate collector of the work of Marianne Starck has provided a number of photographs of part of his large and growing collection of Starck’s work for Michael Andersen – and in particular the large number of series which she designed during the 1950s including the “Negro” series.

Henrik has collected many pieces and variations of her designs which are very hard to find, and his collection goes to show us how prolific and original Marianne Starck was as a designer, in addition to being a skilled ceramicist.

Firstly, here are some of the less commonly seen black and white “Negro” series designs: (click on small images to bring up scrolling gallery).

Now some of the variations:

From what I can see the “Negro” variation most often seen, is the one with black and white + red ochre:  The use of red ochre as an accent colour on these designs really makes them “pop”.


There is also another group which may or may not have beed designed as part of the original “Negro” series. It often has the same forms and designs often found on the Negro series, but has a black body with turquoise/green glaze. My favourite is the bold design bottom left.

Then there is another design, which also seems to be a variation of the Negro series motifs, featuring a black clay body, with red ochre+chrome green with no white. Read more

Marianne Starck “Negro” Series, Michael Andersen & Sons (Part 1)

Marianne Starck 1931 – 2007 worked at Michael Andersen & Sons, Bornholm as the Artistic Director from 1955 to its closure in 1993. During these decades her output of designs was vast – but isn’t well catalogued. Every year I  continue to find designs by her which I haven’t come across previously.

Marianne originally come from Germany where she undertook an apprenticeship at the Thoms pottery in northern Germany, and later studied graphic design in Germany at Landeskunstschule (University of Fine Arts, Hamburg).  Her most successful designs at Michael Andersen & Sons often have very strong graphic elements as part of the design – reflecting her training in this field.

One of her most striking and now most coveted and popular series of designs was for the 1950s “Negro” series. This series features white motifs carved through to black clay – the form would have been slip cast first and then finished and carved by hand and you can usually see the carve marks in the black clay.

The motifs in this series vary from abstract forms, to stylised plants, animals and human forms to simple repeat patterns. Usually the glaze is a bright white, but there are also pieces which have a white glaze speckled with oatmeal colour.

There are also some variations on this series which I will show in a future post.

Below are some of the designs I have had, which are just a fraction of the forms from this very large and popular series:

Michael Andersen Denmark, Marianne Starck Negro Series


Michael Andersen Denmark, Marianne Starck Negro Series

Michael Andersen Denmark, Marianne Starck Negro Series

Michael Andersen Denmark, Marianne Starck Negro Series

Michael Andersen Denmark, Marianne Starck Negro Series

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Michael Andersen & Sons Pottery, Denmark

Michael Andersen and Sons Pottery (MAS), Bornholm Denmark. 

Michael Andersen & Sons was founded in the 1880s (from an earlier 18th Century Pottery) on the island of Bornholm, Denmark – one of the major centres of Danish pottery production during the 19th and 20th Centuries.

Jens Michael Andersen (1859-1931) who was the founder, had trained at the local Hjorth pottery.

His 4 sons worked in the pottery, and one son, Daniel (1885-1959) developed the iconic “Persia” glaze in 1935, which won an international award. The Persia glaze went on to be used on many designs well into the 1960s.

Persia Glaze Bowl by Marianne Starck, M.A.S. Denmark

Persia Glaze Bowl with design by Marianne Starck, M.A.S. Denmark – The cat designs by Marianne Starck on different forms with a Persia glaze have become very collectable pieces.

Michael Andersen & Sons, Lamp with Persia Glaze

Michael Andersen & Sons, Lamp with Persia Glaze – A simple blue pattern on the Persia glaze like this one seems to show it of to best effect – highlighting the lovely mother-of-pearl crackle of the glaze

It is the “Art Pottery” of the 1950s -1970s which MAS are now best known for worldwide…but I also love some of the Art Deco style designs from the 1930s – although these are harder to find in excellent condition now.

Michael Andersen & Sons, Art Deco Era Bowl

Michael Andersen & Sons, Art Deco Era Bowl

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