In the 20th century, Swedish and Danish potteries produced both tableware and art pottery for their customers. In general, pieces produced in Sweden in the first half of the century have strong Art Nouveau and Art Deco influences, while Danish ceramics had a modernist aesthetic even before the Mid-century Modern movement took hold after World War II.

The largest ceramics factory in Sweden was Gustavsberg, whose leading designer at the end of the 19th and through the first half of the 20th centuries was Josef Ekberg. Early Ekberg vases featured floral and Art Nouveau decorations using the sgrafitto technique. Later pieces from the 1920s had less decoration but were often fired in iridescent glazes.

Ekberg’s protege, Wilhelm Kage, is known for his tall, geometric spindle vases, which sit on incised bases resembling small inverted flower pots. Even more modernist was the work of Berndt Friberg and Stig Lindberg, but Gustavsberg’s most recognized designer is undoubtedly Lisa Larson, who produced stoneware menageries of domestic, farm, and wild animals for the company from 1954 to 1980. Today, Larson and her assistants continue to make work from her studio.

The other major Swedish pottery was Rorstrand, whose stoneware from the 1940s and ’50s by Gunnar Nylund evolved from Art Deco-inspired pieces to the biomorphic sloped bowls and bulbous vases for which Rorstrand is so renowned. Another mid-century Rorstrand designer, Carl-Harry Stalhane pursued a more geometric look, producing vases in the 1950s that, in hindsight, resemble the shapes of NASA landing modules in the 1960s.

The tradition of art pottery in Denmark is even stronger. Factories such as Royal Copenhagen and Bing & Grondahl employed designers such as Axel Salto, who worked for both firms, although his “Budding” and gourd-shaped pieces from the 1930s at Royal Copenhagen are perhaps his best known. Nils Thorsson spent more than 60 years at Royal Copenhagen, designing the Marselis line in the 1950s for the factory’s parent company, Aluminia.

One of the most sought-after brands of Danish art pottery are the vases and bowls produced between 1930 and 1968 by Saxbo, which was founded by Nathalie Krebs. A former glaze chemist at Bing & Grondahl, Krebs relied on Eva Staehr-Nielsen to devise many of Saxbo’s elegant forms, which ranged from bottle vases to star-shape bowls. Leon Galetto was known for his cylinder vases with relief triangles on their sides, while Eric Rahr designed asymmetrical pieces.

Another Danish pottery pioneer was Arne Bang, who took a sculptural approach to his pieces. His vases were ribbed, pinched, and flared, and he would sometimes place the handles of organic-looking vessels in random places, giving what should have been a traditional piece an abstract aura. But one of the biggest magnets for Scandinavian ceramists, from Gunnar Nylund to Axel Bruehl, was Nymolle, which was known in the postwar years for its biomorphic vessels and vases, as well as its slender and tapered cylinders with harlequin glaze patterns and dramatic collared necks.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Gouda Design

Gouda Design

Stuart Lonsdale and Kim Lindley's excellent tribute to and reference on Gouda Dutch Art Pottery and Delftware. The … [read review or visit site]

The Mid Century Modernist

The Mid Century Modernist

Stephen Coles' really visual blog dedicated to the Modernist era of design from 1940 to 1970 (aka Mid-century Moder… [read review or visit site]

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

Herman Miller Consortium Collection

This website showcases several hundred pieces of furniture, held by thirteen museums, that were designed for Herman… [read review or visit site]

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Dedicated to raising awareness of the ceramic art work of R. Guy Cowan and his Cowan Pottery Studio in northeastern… [read review or visit site]

The Pottery Studio

The Pottery Studio

This 7,000-plus page site lives up to its self-billing as a 'knowledge base' with examples of work from all major a… [read review or visit site]

EamesCollector.com

EamesCollector.com

Steven Cabella's personal homage to Charles and Ray Eames. This site is as clean and visually appealing as the Eame… [read review or visit site]

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

Work of Charles and Ray Eames

This Library of Congress microsite is an overview of the postwar modern design work of Charles (1907-78) and Ray (1… [read review or visit site]

Classic Modern

Classic Modern

Get a taste of how homes were lit in the 50s, 60s, and 70s with the Danish retro-style lighting designs featured on… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

6 Vintage Gustavsberg Sweden Spisa Ribb Stig Lindberg Soup Salad Bowls 7 1/4"Rare Arabia Finland - Groovy Mid Century Modern Eames Decorative Wall TileVintage Gustavsberg Two Blue Birds Lisa Larson Tile Pottery NrGunnar Nylund (rorstrand) / Mid-century Elliptical BowlStavangerflint Norway Small Giraffe Dish. 1950's Inger Waage Leaf Bowl Jie Gantofta, Sweden, Go-gay Biscuit Jar & Wooden Lid, Anita Nylund C1960'sVintage 60's Royal Copenhagen Bottle Vase Nils Thorsson 712 / 3208-based Arabia, Finland, Sinilintu/bluebird Cup & Saucer, Raija Uosikkinen C1960'sLisa Larson Gustavsberg BirdStig Lindberg Gustavsberg Sweden 12" Leaf Shaped Floral DishStig Lindberg Gustavsberg Bersa 24cm Dinner Plate, Sweden ChinaMid Century Denmark Textural Wood Ceramic Fish Motif Dish Marked Impressed B Rare Amalia Statue By Lisa Larson, From Abc Flickor Series (gustavsberg)Gustavsberg Linnea Floral 12 Small Plates 7" Mid Century Modern Vintage ExcellenBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Figural Vase Woman & Cup 12" Sgnd #'d V53 Dated '78Porsgrund Norway Small Square Porcelain Blue & White Dish/bowl "bird/peacock"Bjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Figural Vase Impressive 25" Sgnd Dated '68 #'d L15Bjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Portrait Vase Fower Holder 6" Sgnd #'d L3 Dated '78Soholm Decorative Danish/scandinavian Retro Pottery/stoneware Lamp From The 60'sBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Figure Summer "sommer" 11.5" Sgnd #'d M21 Dated '74Bjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Huge Figural Vase Impressive 18" Sgnd Dtd '63 #'d V16Vintage Stig Lindberg Gustavsberg Vase Karneval Series SwedenBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Candlestick Masquerader 15" Sgnd #'d M32 Dated '64Vintage Porsgrund Norway Blue & White Fish Tiles/trivets - Wall HangingsBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Rare 5 Piece Tulip Vase 22.5" Sgnd Dated '65 #'d V30Four Small Dinner Plates - Anemon - Rorstrand - Marianne WestmanBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery 2 Piece Portrait Vase 12.5" Sgnd #'d V52 Dated '79Bjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery 2 Piece Portrait Vase 7x6" Signed #'d V13 Dated '68Vintage Thyssen Keramik Danish Warrior FigureBeautiful Vintage Palshus Denmark Mid Century Pottery Dish SmallNymolle Denmark Decor 3313-468 - White/red Lady/girl Candleholder - Jacob E.bangSwedish Bowl With Tomte Figures - Adorable - Signed Jie + Tag - SwedenBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Brown & Green Face Jug Mpressive 15" Sgnd Dated '63 Soholm Stentoj Bornholm Candle Holder Danish Mid Century Modern 50s 60s 70s Terma Flameldfast Gustavsberg Oven Casserole Dish - Stig Lindberg - SwedenFiggjo Flint Saga Norsk Handpainted Snack Plate (4)Porsgrund Farmers Rose Large, Dinner Plate- 9 3/4" Scalloped -norway-norwegianMiniature Vase - Carl Harry Stalhane - Rorstrand - 50s Early 20th Century Aluminia Copenhagen Wall Plate City Arms Helsingor Sail ShipBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Figure Woman Bird Mirror 8.5" Sgnd #'d M17 Dated '61Norway 4 X 7 3/4" Porsgrund Rim Soup Bowls 14 Internal Angles Red Trim GeometricSigned Ekeby Swedish Art Pottery Schnauzer Dog Candy Nut Jewelry Trinket Dish NrVintage Bjorn Wiinblad Nymolle Danish Art Pottery Miniature Dish With PierrotPorsgrund Farmers Rose Large, Dinner Plate- 9 3/4" Scalloped -norway-norwegianBeautiful Argenta Sweden Green Ceramic Bowl With Silver Inlay, 6.25"L Hjorth Signed Vintage Pottery Vase Bornhelm Roenne Denmark Scandinavia Figgjo Flint Norway Lotte Set 4 Plates Scandinavian Art Pottery Mid Century ModOld Danish Folk Art Pottery Bowl Ras DenmarkJie Gantofta Sweden Folk Elsi Bourelius Figurine Sculpture Danish Modern CoupleNorway 2 X 7 3/4" Porsgrund Rim Soup Bowls 14 Internal Angles Red Trim GeometricCharming Bing And Grondahl Denmark Miniature Vase With Butterfly And FlowersVuokkomanty Kissing Reindeer Finland Art Pottery Vase - Beautiful Colored PieceVintage Nymolle Art Faience Hoyrup Limited Edition Danish CupBjorn Wiinblad Art Pottery Relief Decorated Face Plaque 6" Sgnd #'d A3 Dated '99Rare Porsgrund Farmers Rose Bowl, Bucket, Server?-gold Rim -norway-norwegianMats Jonasson Art Glass Sculpturemorgana In Clear Crystal - Signed & New In Box Mats Jonasson Art Glass Sculpture Shama , Signed, Original & New In Box Vintage Bjorn Wiinblad Nymolle Danish Art Pottery Covered Box Courting CouplesRare Pottery 1968 Porsgrund Norway Church Christmas PlateSaga Norsk Design Plate F/f Norway