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]

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]

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]

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    

Large Vintage Carl Harry Stalhane Swedish Modernist Stoneware Vase For RorstrandAn Alvar Aalto Iittala Bowl / Dish Modernist Finnish Design Clear BoxedEarly Lisa Larson Gustavsberg Lion With Stamped Signature And LabelLisa Larson Gustavsberg Pottery Dog Statue Figure Figurine 16 Cm Bull Dog ArtArabia Set Of 5 Valencia Cups And Saucers Handpainted By Ulla Procope FinlandSet Of 4 Arabia Finland Valencia 7-3/4" Salad Plates Hand Painted & SignedRorstrand Vase, Gunnar Nylund "ast", Scandinavian Mid CenturyArt Pottery Low Bowl Plate, Thistle, Alex Salto For Ipsen's Widow, Near Mint5 Arabia Of Finland Ruska Coupe Cereal Bowls 6 1/8 In.Palshus, Denmark, Pls1169, Vase6 Pieces Midcentury Scandinavian Rorstrand Sweden Eden Cups Saucers Cake PlatesVintage Scandinavian Figgjo Flint Lotte, Market Huge Salad Bowl NorwayVintage Arabia Black Ceramic Planter Mid Century Modern Richard Lindh Mid Century Gustavsberg Sweden Salix Porcelain China Demi Tasse Cups SetRorstrand Vase, Gunnar Nylund "ast"Kirsikka Tea Cup And Saucer Design Inkeri Leivo Arabia Finland 1Rorstrand Sweden Rare 1950's Odeshog Horses Buggy Scandinavian Art Plate Signed Mid Century Modern Glit Iceland Lava Rock Drip Glaze Art Pottery Center BowlMoomin Collectors Plates Fazer Moomintroll Daydreaming Arabia 2014 Finland3 Gustavsberg Prunus 9 3/4" Dinner Plates By Stig Lindberg Sweden McmVintage Bjorn Wiinblad Nymolle Denmark Rectangular Covered Box. Vintage Ekeby Mid Century "spiral" Design Pottery Bowl By Ingrid AtterbergGustavsberg Sweden Argenta Vase With A Fish 6" Tall LoooooooookFiggjo Flint Turi Design Arden Norway Red Platter MintRare Arabia Finland Cup Bowl Blue Floral Mid-century Modern HlaBjorn Wiinblad Vintage Handpainted Studio Pottery Candle Holder Denmark 20cmOlga Osol Arabia Mid Century Modern Art Pottery Black Vase Finland ScandinavianRare Vtg Sweden Rorstrand Delikat Dinner Plate 4Rare Vtg Sweden Rorstrand Delikat Dinner Plate 5Vintage Mid-century Modern Sweden Rorstrand Atelje Art Pottery VaseKosta Boda Heart Plate Charger Ulrica Hydman Vallien Signed Hand Painted SwedenArabia Finland Kalevala Annual Wall Hanging Plate 1978 Raija Uosikkinen SeriesRorstrand Ostindia Tea Cup And Saucer Sweden 1960s RetroScandinavian Art Pottery Plates Elle Norway Mid Century Modern Design 2 PlatesMid Century Danish Arne Bang Studio Pottery Ceramic Vessel Figure Animal DanmarkVtg Arabia Finland Pottery Wall Pocket Orange/brown Flowers & HeartsVintage Rorstrand Swenden Asiatic Pheasant Lavender Purple BowlVintage Rorstrand Sweden Battleship Pin Tray Porcelain HandpaintedVintage Figgjo Flint Norway Benta Range Milk Or Cream JugA Nice & Beautiful Midcentury Stoneware Vase, Berndt Friberg, GustavsbergVintage Figgjo Flint Victoria Turi Design Bread And Butter PlateMcm Arabia Pottery Kaj Franck Yellow Cow Bull Pitcher Gravy Boat Finland VintageMid Century Modern Arabia Valencia 2 Handled Chalice Pedestal Pottery Bowl EamesVintage Mid Century Modern Rorstrand Sweden Child's Fish Cup Marianne Westman ? Vintage Gustavsberg Argenta Art Pottery Square Vase Green Sweden Signed Harald Wiberg Vintage Small Plate Gnome W/ Keys Bing & Grondahl Vintage Flow Blue Grape Leaves Cobalt 8 3/4" Plate Dinner Gefle Vinranka Sweden Vintage Nymolle Hoyrup Art Pottery Cup & Saucer Set Denmark Danish 1950'sNorway Figgjo Flint Turi Design Market 4 Cereal Bowls Vintage Upsala Ekeby Sweden - Lillemor Percy Cup & SaucerArabia Finland A.alariesto A Village Of Lapps In Winter Wall Plate Small 4-1/2"Vintage Arabia Finland Bull Cow Milk Pitcher Kaj Franck Ceramic Mcm Mid CenturyArabia Finland Blue & White Plate DishRosenthal 9 1/2" Bowl Studio Linie Fantasia Or Fantasy Bjorn Wiinblad White *masons Denmark"(blue/white)1.5 Pint Capacity Tea Pot & Lid(1st/mint)*masons Denmark"(blue/white)large 2.5 Pint Capacity Breakfast Milk Jug(1st/mit)Marianne Westman (1950's) Two Epochal Mon Amie Cups Rörstrand