Toshiko Takaezu - Contemporary Studio Artworks from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad New York Wednesday, June 8, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Rago, Lambertville, "Mid 20th-21st Century/Modern," October 2, 2010, lot 776
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Toshiko Takaezu, Toshiko Takaezu, Honolulu, 1993, p. 22 for a similar example
    Felice Fischer, Kathleen A. Foster, and Darrel Sewell, The Poetry of Clay: The Art of Toshiko Takaezu, Philadelphia, 2005, p. 6 for a similar example
    J. Stanley Yake, Toshiko Takaezu: The Earth in Bloom, New York, 2005, n.p. for similar examples

  • Catalogue Essay

    Ceramic artist Toshiko Takaezu dedicated her five-decade career to abstract expressions of form. Born in Honolulu in 1922 to a family of Japanese émigrés, Takaezu was first introduced to pottery in 1940, at the Hawaii Potter’s Guild, where she crafted functional ceramics. She later attended the Honolulu Academy of Arts at the University of Hawaii, studying with ceramist Claude Horan. Seeking to further her education, Takaezu then attended the Cranbrook Academy of Art, training under acclaimed Finnish-American ceramist Maija Grotell. During a formative eight-month trip to Japan between 1955 and 1956, Takaezu encountered the avant-garde Sodeisha group (“Crawling through Mud Association”), a collective of artists that aimed to reorient ceramics from the utilitarian Mingei (folk-craft) movement to a means of sculptural expression.

    After this trip, Takaezu created her first closed form, whose rotund volume and tapered rim would become her signature structure. Takaezu hand-built and threw her closed forms, creating them in a wide range of proportions. She often glazed them in abstract, gestural strokes, selecting colors that invoked the landscape of her native Hawaii. The present lot comes from her Ocean Edge series, a body of work that explores the effects of glaze layering on porcelain, relying on rich turquoise and cranberry red pigments. Seeking to activate the auditory senses, Takaezu sometimes placed clay beads into the closed forms, allowing them to gently rattle.

    Internationally celebrated, Takaezu’s work is in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Art Institute of Chicago; the DeYoung/Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among several others. Toshiko Takaezu’s work is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at The Noguchi Museum, New York.

Contemporary Studio Artworks from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad


"Closed Form (Ocean Edge)"

circa 1995
Glazed porcelain.
6 3/4 in. (17.1 cm) high
Underside incised with artist's mark.

$3,000 - 5,000 

Sold for $12,600

Contact Specialist

Contemporary Studio Artworks from the Estate of Jack R. Bershad

New York Auction 8 June 2022