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Masters of Mid-Century Ceramics, Part 4: Otto and Gertrud Natzler

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Otto and Gertrud Natzler were partners in both marriage and business, and began practicing their craft together in Vienna soon after their union in 1933. The self-taught couple won their first art competition at the Paris Exposition in 1937 with a silver medal in ceramics.

From there, Otto and Gertrud’s work blossomed, and after fleeing Vienna during War War II, they landed in Los Angeles. The couple soon became renowned on the American West Coast as well for their unusual style and unique glazes. It is said that Gertrud threw the clay and Otto perfected the glazes, with over 2000 styles under his belt by the end of his career.

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Photo courtesy of Jacky Masters.

Although Gertrud passed in 1971, Otto lived to see his work become highly valued in art circles. By the time of his death in 2007, Natzler pieces were highly sought after by collectors and museums as symbols of post-war modernism.

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Photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

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Photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.

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Photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.

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Photo courtesy of Simple Virtues.

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Photo courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Craft.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.

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Photo courtesy of Mondo Blogo.

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Photo courtesy of For the Life of Me.

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Photo courtesy of 1stdibs.

Home Spotlight: Amazing Art-Filled A. Quincy Jones in Stanford, CA

The design for the Matt and Lyda Kahn House was a collaboration in 1959 between A. Quincy Jones and Joseph Eichler, but that’s not the only reason we adore it. Besides its pedigree, the home’s interiors were designed by its owner – Stanford art professor Matt Kahn – whose jaw-dropping collection of art and artifacts cover every square inch of the space.

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Although we usually go with a “less is more” attitude when it comes to interior design, this gorgeous house and its incredible collection are the obvious exception. Kahn lived in the house for over 50 years until his recent passing, at which point it was sold to another Stanford faculty member with most of the collection intact.

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Exploring the Craft of Pressing Fiberglass with Mid-Century Machines

The mid-20th century was a great time for the manufacturing industry. Advancements in machine technology and plastics created opportunities for production that had previously only been dreamed of. Compared with the robotic machinery of today, however, mid-century machines required a great deal of hands-on activity.

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Take the Modernica Fiberglass Chair Factory for instance. These machines were originally developed by Zenith Plastics in 1949. Although the fiberglass molds and presses allow for a more streamlined production process, the decades-old machinery requires a lot hands-on assistance, and can only produce two chairs at a time. The result is an incredibly authentic product with slight variations in texture and color.

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Here’s a closer look at the process. Note how our technicians are involved in every step of the process, treating each chair as a project of its own.

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