Mid-century Modern Pottery at Brunk Auctions in September

Parker B. Poe, a fun-loving Texan who died in 1989, delighted in packing his grand nieces and nephews into the back seat of his Bentley convertible and heading to the local drive-in movie theater. Poe was also a benefactor of the arts, an amateur potter and an avid collector. A portion of his collection of art glass, furniture, porcelain, burlwood bowls, maps, fine art, pottery and scrimshaw – 184 lots in all – will be sold at Brunk Auctions Sept. 6-7.

Poe’s collection of European and Asian Mid-century Modern pottery has created great interest here and abroad. Included are the works of some of that era’s foremost studio potters.  

Axel Salto (Danish, 1889-1961), an applied artist in textiles and ceramics, worked as a studio potter for Royal Copenhagen from 1934 until his death. Reviewers have grouped his work into three categories: budding, sprouting or fluted. He was a pioneer in Danish Design or Danish Modern pottery. Ten lots of Salto’s pottery are featured in the Brunk sale. Starring on the cover of the 264-page color catalog is a 19-inch classic example of Salto’s budding technique. Hundreds of buds dot the surface of the ovoid form with glossy flowing brown and green glaze. It is stamped Royal Copenhagen, inscribed “Salto” and carries a pre-sale estimate of $5,000-$10,000. A larger (21 inches) Salto vessel combines sprouts – three tapering horns – and buds on a cylindrical base. The glaze is a mottled and flowing brown and olive. Marked with the Royal Copenhagen blue wave and hand-inscribed “Salto,” it is expected to bring $6,000 to $12,000.

Twelve lots by other well-known Danish potters notably Kresten Bloch, Jorgen Mogensen, Eva Nielsen, and Gerd Bogelund are in the sale. The work of Swedish and Finnish potters Carl Harry Stalhane, Birger Kaipianien and Stig Lindberg are also included.  

Shoji Hamada (1894-1978) was technically trained as a potter at Tokyo Institute of Technology. He based his designs and glazes on Oriental folk art, an art form that was all but obliterated during Japan’s rapid urbanization. Early in his career he became friends with master potter Bernard Leach (British, 1887-1979) and the two established pottery centers in England and Japan. Six Hamada pieces are in the September sale, all wood-fired stoneware. An 8 ¾-inch squared vase with canted shoulders in a brown and green glaze and decorated with sugar cane and circles is expected to bring $2,000 to $4,000. A 9 ¾-inch square-shaped vase with curved sides and neck in ocher, green and black glaze may bring $3,000 to $6,000. Hamada’s trademark glazes were mixed with iron or rice-husk ash.

Eleven other Japanese pottery lots are included in the sale, as well as an ovoid stoneware jar in a tenmoku (iron) glaze by Bernard Leach (estimate $3,000-$6,000).

For more information, visit www.brunkauctions.com or call 828-254-6846.