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Gertrud and Otto Natzler

Austrian  •  1908-1971 (Gertrud), 2007 (Otto)

Biography

Gertrud and Otto Natzler met in Vienna in 1934. Gertrud was studying ceramics, and quickly became adept at throwing. Otto was at first infatuated with Gertrud, and quickly thereafter with experimenting with glazes. Within two years of meeting they had established a studio together. In 1938, the same year in which they were married and awarded a silver medal at the Paris International Exhibition, Nazi Germany annexed Austria and they left Vienna for California. They soon returned to their practice, with Gertrud throwing the delicate forms that Otto would then glaze.

Over almost forty years, Gertrud created increasingly sophisticated and thin-walled pottery and Otto continued to refine his developments with glazes. Exhibited and appreciated in their own time, their work was hugely significant to the emergence of American studio ceramics in the second half of the twentieth century, as well as a testament to collaboration and dedication to craft.

Insights

  • With Otto's careful glaze selections matching Gertrud's virtuosic thrown vessels, the result was perfect unity between surface and form.

  • When Gertrud passed away in 1971, Otto glazed her remaining vessels and thereafter worked mainly with his own slab form creations.

"In pottery, form is the content." –Gertrud Natzler

Past Lots

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