Acclaimed ceramics artist, Gertrud Natzler is known for producing some of the 20th century’s finest ceramics, celebrated for their refinement, delicacy, and proportion. Working together with her husband Otto Natzler, she created a seminal body of work that was highly influential to the emergence of American studio ceramics in the second half of the 20th century.
Only two years after they had met, Gertrud and Otto Natzler set up their own ceramics studio in Vienna, dedicating themselves fully to their art. With their work soon being recognized for its excellence, they were awarded a silver medal at the Paris International Exhibition in 1938. The same year, the couple fled to Los Angeles due to Nazis invading Austria, continuing their work there.
While Gertrud threw the clay and formed it into simple pristine works, Otto glazed and fired them. The result was the elegant, classical vessel forms of turned earthenware distinguished by the varied glazes on the surface. In a collaboration which lasted for nearly four decades, Gertrud created increasingly sophisticated and thin-walled pottery, while Otto continued to refine his developments with glazes.
The work of Gertrud Natzler could be found in numerous public collections, including Art Institute of Chicago, Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C., and Victoria Albert Museum, London, among others. In 2001, Gertrud was posthumously awarded the Gold Medal for Consummate Craftsmanship of the American Craft Council together with her husband. Comprised of almost twenty-five thousand hand-thrown pots, bowls, and bottles, the work of Gertrud Natzler reflects her ongoing quest for absolute perfection of form.
Gertrud Natzler was born in 1908 in Vienna, Austria to a Jewish family. After fleeing her homeland in 1938, she settled in Los Angeles with her husband, where she lived and worked up until her death in 1971.
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