Lot 14: RUDOLF STAFFEL (AMERICAN, 1911-2002), THROWN, PIERCED AND APPLIED PORCELAIN "LIGHT GATHERER" VESSEL

Est: $2,000 - $3,000
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June 4, 2018, 1:00 PM EST
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Description: RUDOLF STAFFEL (AMERICAN, 1911-2002)

THROWN, PIERCED AND APPLIED PORCELAIN "LIGHT GATHERER" VESSEL

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, CIRCA 1970s
Signed: "Rudolf Staffel"

H: 6 1/4, W: 6, D: 5 in.



PROVENANCE:

Gift from the artist
Collection of Dr. and Mrs. Perry Ottenberg
Condition Report: No damage.


Descriptions provided in both printed and on-line catalogue formats do not include condition reports. The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance only. Any reference to condition in the condition report for the lot does not amount to a full description of condition. The images of the lot form part of the condition report for the lot provided by Freeman's. Certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot. In particular, the online images may represent colors and shades which are different to the lot's actual color and shades. The condition report for the lot may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the condition report for the lot or shown in the online images of the lot. The condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Freeman''s is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the condition report is a statement of opinion genuinely held by Freeman's. For that reason, Freeman's condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. All transactions are governed by Freeman's Conditions of Sale.
Notes: LOT ESSAY:

When I think about Rudolf Staffel, the words of poet Stephen Berg come to mind. "Rudi''s pots move from a calm fluid area to a stream of porcelain ... knotted, patched, scored ... from a quick stark delicacy to brutally raw...."

Staffel was born in San Antonio, Texas, in 1911 of German descent. Though he studied painting, he was drawn to glass and clay early in his artistic education. He traveled from Texas to Chicago to Mexico, where the romance of clay changed his course, and finally to New Orleans. There he taught pottery at the Arts and Crafts Club from 1936 to 1939. I am certain that he was exposed to the work of George Ohr, who had a position as an apprentice potter in New Orleans when he was twenty-two and whose idiosyncratic command of clay must have had a subliminal influence on Staffel.

A major turning point was his invitation to teach at the Tyler School of Art at Elkins Park (suburban Philadelphia) in 1940. During that period he studied with Hans Hofmann in New York, and his interest in abstraction is evidenced in the "push and pull" manipulation of the clay. In 1959 he was commissioned by Mel Richman, a fervent collector of ceramics, to create a dinner set which was never realized, but it led Rudi to discover the full potential of porcelain and its light-gathering qualities. Rudi''s interest in the translucency of porcelain and its ability to transmit light was central to his work for forty years until his death in 2002.

Staffel''s works are in major private and public collections throughout the world, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Los Angeles Museum of Art; Designmuseo, Helsinki; Stedlijk Museum, ''s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands; Tokyo Museum of Art; Museum of Art and Design, New York; Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. During the 1990s it was unusual for a living American ceramic artist to have two European retrospectives: one at Museum voor Het Kruithuis, ''s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands (1990), held simultaneously with a George Ohr exhibition; and another, "Searching for Light," which was held first at the Philadelphia Museum of Art before traveling to the Museum of Applied Arts, Helsinki (1996-97).

June and Perry Ottenberg''s passionate support of Rudolf Staffel continued for almost four decades. Their collection of Staffel''s works consists of major examples of his pots, including classical forms as well as miniatures and major vessels whose idiosyncratic gestures created a unique body of his work.


Helen W. Drutt English
April 17, 2018
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Freeman's
June 4, 2018, 1:00 PM EST Live Auction

Philadelphia, PA, US