This is a busy week for marketplace issues; Christie’s is hiding its online auction results, Rago Arts’ last Modern Ceramics sale is revisited, and a new survey gave surprisingly good news about the size and value of the British crafts sector.
To add to that list is Cowan’s bi-annual Modern Ceramics Auction, now in its 9th Edition. It takes place this week on Friday, November 7, 2014. This auction is growing stronger from year to year and is becoming more selective. Some of the standout works are illustrated below, a major early vessel by Ruth Duckworth, a graphically dramatic terra sigillata signature pillow pot by Betty Woodman, several top quality Lucie Rie bottles and a vase, a pair of wild Micheal Lucero teapots, and the most sought after of all studio pottery, a vase by Magdalene Odundo. A gem is three extremely rare Adventures of Lorna cups by Ken Price.
Above image: Ken Price, The Adventures of Lorna Cup #3, ca 1992, earthenware with underglaze; ht. 2.75, dia. 2 in. Inventory sticker on base JCG/36581
Later in Price’s career, he re-explored the cup form with “Lorna,” a character which would appear in his drawings as well. Few of these works exist today but this collection of three, all from the James Corcoran Gallery in Los Angeles, show his dynamic draftsmanship in glaze. The character “Lorna” would age through the years as Price drew her but these cups are among the few examples that can be found today, a prize for any collector of Ken Price’s work.
This auction has many of the usual suspects but what makes this auction special is a large collection of stoneware pots from students and residents at Nigeria’s Abuja Pottery Center. Many of these are utilitarian and so they are reasonably priced. A large number of works are by the legendary potter Ladi Kwali.
The Pottery Training Center was founded by Michael Cardew in 1951 (represented here with one of his Gwari casseroles) in the then small village of Abuja. It is now a city with 250,000 residents and it has lost its name to a nearby city that became the Nigerian capital and is now known as Suleja. The center, reamed the Dr. Ladi Kwali Pottery continues to this day.
Garth Clark is the Chief Editor of CFile.
Any thoughts about this post? Share yours in the comment box below.