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  • Writer's pictureJohan Brink

Famous ceramic artists

Updated: Oct 3, 2021

Scandinavia's best ceramic artists

There are still ceramic artists that are truly underestimated, not many of them, but if you keep your eyes open for quality and a personal expression, no matter what the signature says, you are going to be rewarded. Below are some of Scandinavia's best ceramic artists as well as some underrated ones where you can still buy a very well executed vase or bowl to a low price. In short, your quick guide to buying ceramics. Read more below or buy your next ceramic piece in our shop

Stig Lindberg

Just 21 years old Stig Lindberg knocked on the door at Gustavsberg studio. Looking for a summer job after his academic years. Wilhelm Kåge, the artistic director at the studio, realized after a couple of months that he had a very special talent. The rest is history, a very successful history including thousands of projects and objects.

Stoneware, tableware, plastic, fabrics or as in this case faience. Whatever material he made a lot of spectacular work, beautiful, interesting, decorative. An artist for over forty years, exploring form and function, sometimes by himself, other times in collaboration with skilled turners, dedicated glaze masters and decor painters, always signed Stig L and the G for Gustavsberg.

Carl Harry Stålhane

Carl Harry Stålhane came to Rörstrand in 1939 as an assistant to Gunnar Nylund and the Swedish painter Isaac Grünewald, but after some years he became the artistic leader. Today collectors speaking about Carl Harry Stålhane with deep respect, and that is for more than one reason. Together with the outstanding master of glazes Kent Ericsson he made amazing stoneware for Rörstrand Porslinsfabrik. He had a wide range of different expressions, from tableware to unique brutal on-of-a-kind pieces and also a lot of monumental public artworks. After many, many years at Rörstrand and still eager to create new, interesting ceramic he decided to start all over again with his own studio called Designhuset, together with Kent Ericsson. During some years they had their ups and downs, but a lot of their ceramic art was really something else.

Rolf Palm

Rolf Palm was one of the 20th centuries leading ceramic artist in Sweden. Rolf Palm was very fascinated by ancient Chinese stoneware. To get these glazes it requires a living flame, high temperatures and the opportunity to enchant with the chemistry of oxygen - to reduce and oxidize. In other words a coal-fired oven. So he built one and started his expedition in glazes. And he made amazing pieces in his own coal-fired oven. He is still an icon among the local people in the area, guess every home has at least one miniature signed by Rolf Palm. And the former king of Sweden Gustav Vi Adolf has a lot, just as the National museum of Sweden and Röhsska design museum.

Marianne Westman

She dreamed of having her own ceramic studio, but after making a sketch for the very famous decoration Mon Amie her career as a designer became synonymous with Rörstrand. She made a lot of decoration for household items. Bu sometimes she had some spare time making monumental and amazing almost brutal stoneware pieces. The production was not that big and probably it going to get harder to find these objects.

Claes Thell

Not that famous, still very underestimated, but one of the real masters when it comes to pottery. He started as a fifteen year boy and worked with the clay in his entirely life. Sadly he passed away in 2019 after over 50 years of making beautiful art with clay as the material. He found his own personal language of design. He combined a strong personal and artistically language inspired by on one hand the classic forms and glazes of East Asian ceramics, and on the other hand Swedish traditional pottery and the Scandinavian stoneware tradition. He was very critical to his work and inexorably crushed all the pieces he wasn’t happy with. That’s why his production has such a high and consistent quality. I´m absolutely convinced that more people are going to discover and appreciate his amazing art.

Gunnar Nylund

Gunnar Nylund was born in Paris but ended up not far away from Little Paris (Vänersborg) in Sweden. He lived for many years in Helsinki and Copenhagen and was eventually an assistant to his father who was a sculptor, he became an architect, and worked as an illustrator before he got his first job with ceramics at Bing & Gröndahl in Copenhagen. In 1931 he moved to Lidköping and Rörstrand. As a creative director he introduced the factory to the functionalist trends that was spreading over Europe. He remained at the factory until 1955. Later on, he did some freelance gigs during a time when he mostly put his effort in designing glass.

Gunnar Nylund had a wide register when it comes to designing porcelain and stoneware, from smooth discrete glazes during a period to colorful Chamotte stoneware animals, especially birds.

Erich and Ingrid Triller

How come a German conductor become a Swedish potter? Just saying Erich Triller. He had career as a musician and a conductor at the opera house in Krefeld But then the first world war broke out and he became unemployed. So what to do? How about ceramics? He started as an apprentice at a pottery studio in Krefeld and then got an education at Staatliche Keramische Fachschule in Bunzlau. More studies during some years and then he met Ingrid Maria Lovisa Abenius. She studied ceramics in Germany at Staatliche Keramische Fachschule in Bunzlau and at Otto Lindigs Keramische Werkstatt in Dornburg. They got married, moved to Sweden a little bit further up north of Stockholm to a small village named Tobo and opened up a ceramic studio. After working in their studio for two years they had their first exhibition. And it was a success. Every piece was sold. But being just two people the production became quite small. Even if they hired the very skilled (perfection was their signum) Danish turner Knud Johansen during a couple of years. Erich and Ingrid Triller were truly dedicated to their art. Nothing was left to chance. The goods were burnt twice, and they were extremely careful when turning and burning. They’re specialty was elegant stoneware inspired by the Bauhaus school. After trying at least 2 000 different glaze they sticked to twenty of them, carefully selected. Perfection in every little detail. They worked together for 37 years and made about 25 000 pieces during these years Their consequent work making the same forms over and over again to perfection are undoubtedly one of the coolest artistry in the Scandinavian ceramic history. A couple to remember, and to collect.


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