Toshiko Takaezu - Design New York Wednesday, December 7, 2022 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • 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 evoked the landscape of her native Hawaii. The present selection of Closed Form vessels come from a private collection in Philadelphia and were all acquired directly from the artist in the 1980s and 1990s. Seeking to activate the auditory senses, Takaezu sometimes placed clay beads into the closed forms, allowing them to gently rattle, as seen in lots 58 and 63.

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner, 1990s

    • Literature

      J. Stanley Yake, Toshiko Takaezu: The Earth in Bloom, New York, 2005, p. 22 for a similar example

Property from a Private Collection, Philadelphia


"Closed Form" with rattle

Glazed porcelain.
6 7/8 in. (17.5 cm) high

Full Cataloguing

$4,000 - 6,000 

Sold for $9,450

Contact Specialist

Benjamin Green
Associate Specialist

Associate Head of Sale
+1 917 207 9090



New York Auction 7 December 2022