At the turn of the twentieth century, ceramics—as in other media in both the decorative and fine arts—underwent revolutionary change. The potter emerged from the anonymity of the workshop and made more individualistic statements in clay than ever before.
Ceramics have kept pace with, or even led, new movements in art, from art nouveau, art deco, the Bauhaus, and futurism, through abstract expressionism, pop and performance, to land art and installation art. Stylistic and technical influences are considered here in context, from orientalism and color theory to modernism, postmodernism, and the profuse diversity of approaches that characterizes the end of the century.
The scope is wide, taking in developments in Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, the United States, and Japan. The work of exceptional individuals is appraised, including Taxile Doat, Clarice Cliff, Susie Cooper, Bernard Leach, Isamu Noguchi, Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Peter Voulkos, and Adrian Saxe. The relation of ceramics to other disciplines is given close attention: sculptors, such as Antony Gormley and Tony Cragg, and even architects, including Frank Gehry, have made ceramics central to their practice.
This comprehensive survey provides invaluable background and commentary on leading practitioners, critics, theorists, and pioneers, illuminating the development of an art form that seized and inspired the imagination of artists and the public alike in the twentieth century.
Edmund de Waal
Edmund de Waal is a distinguished potter, with work in many private and public collections. He teaches, lectures, and writes regularly on ceramics.