Rut Bryk Monumental Wall Relief

September 27, 2013

For 140 years, the Finnish company Arabia has produced some of the finest ceramics in the world. Less than three weeks away, the October 13, 2013 Modern Art & Design Auction will feature a massive wall relief by Rut Bryk, a talented printmaker and ceramicist who was also a member of the Arabia design team.

Peter Loughrey, Director of Modern & Contemporary Art:

“I wanted to show European buyers and dealers that there are great works that come out of LA – and this wall relief by Rut Bryk is one of them. The seller purchased this work on a vacation to Finland in the early 1960s and brought it back to LA, where it was hanging on the same wall ever since. This is an extraordinary example of Rut Bryk’s work – the purity of the circles and squares and varying depths take this work into abstraction, a departure from her more common figurative works. This is one of the best examples of the artist’s work to ever hit the market.”

Wall relief (c. 1968), Rut Bryk

During the late 1930s and early 40s, the Arabia ceramics factory found an increasing demand for pictorial tiles and wall reliefs. In order to respond to this demand, in 1943, artistic director of Arabia, Kurt Eckholm hired the talented graduate student printmaker and artist Rut Bryk, protégé of acclaimed art teacher Arttu Brummer. Unlike the other members of the factory’s design department, Bryk had no prior experience in the study or practice in the field of applied arts. Her exceptional skills in printmaking translated perfectly into the design of tiles and wall reliefs, the zenith of which came in her design for a monumental architectural wall relief for the Rosenthal Factory in Germany, 1960.

In 1945 Rut Bryk married Tapio Wirkkala, and the two began a long and fruitful period of intense creative collaboration. During this period, Bryk’s artistic style began to move away from the figurative to the abstract, of which this panel is an exquisite example.

Lot Information:

Lot 494
Rut Bryk
Wall relief
designed c. 1968
Glazed ceramic
Impressed “Rut Bryk Arabia” lower center; bears inscriptions “Rut Bryk ‘Rypale’/’Grappe’/Varahy” verso
43.25″ x 43.25″ x 3″
Estimate: $10,000 – 15,000

Leave a Reply