LAMA BLOG

Design for Loving: Gertrud and Otto Natzler, the Clay-Mates

February 13, 2016

On Valentine’s Day, thoughts turn to romance. At LAMA, it strikes us how often the bonds of affection—most prominently among husband-and-wife teams—have shaped the best in modern art and design. Charles and Ray Eames, with their playful creativity and optimism, were the reigning spirits of American mid-century modernism. Robin and Lucienne Day—he with his forward-looking furniture; she with colorful, clever textiles—defined the look of post-war Britain. The agile and angular designs of Ico and Luisa Parisi fostered a sleek new sensibility in Italy.

Lot 298, Gertrud & Otto Natzler (1955)
Lot 298, Gertrud & Otto Natzler, Bowl with lip, Executed 1955
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

But no couple worked so seamlessly and with such symmetry as the groundbreaking ceramicists Gertrud and Otto Natzler. Both were born in Vienna, Austria in 1908, and each showed artistic tendencies in their youth—Otto studied the violin and, later, textile design; Gertrud studied painting and drawing. In 1934, a few months after they met, the Natzlers took a course in pottery and within a year opened their own workshop. From the start they established a division of labor. Gertrud threw the clay on the potter’s wheel and became renowned for her refined forms: impossibly delicate, perfectly proportioned. Otto experimented with glazes, creating more than 2,500 formulas in his career that produced, by turns, both lustrous, fiery colors and violent textures, finishing Gertrud’s pots with a flourish of blisters, craters, and fissures.


Lot 299, Gertrud & Otto Natzler Bowl, 1960
Lot 299, Gertrud & Otto Natzler, Bowl, Executed 1960
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Soon after Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the couple fled to the United States and settled in Los Angeles. As teachers and through their work in their studio, the Natzlers played a signal role in establishing Southern California as a center of the art pottery movement in America. LAMA’s February 21st sale of modern art and design features a survey of 12 superb examples of the Natzler’s work. We invite you to look at them not only as art, but as expressions of love.

It is a touching grace note to their story that after Gertrud died of cancer in 1971, Otto could not bring himself to glaze and fire the last 200 pots that she had made for a year.  However, he returned to the workshop to start the process of glazing the majority of the remaining pieces by Gertrud.

Otto abruptly discontinued his practice in the last decade of his life. He passed away at the age of 99 in 2007, but his enduring legacy can be seen in the museum collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, among others.

304, Gertrud & Otto Natzler, Cylindrical bowl, 1960
Lot 304, Gertrud & Otto Natzler, Cylindrical bowl, Executed 1960
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

Lot Information:

Lot 298
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Bowl with lip
Studio, executed 1955
Velvet blue matte glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “G512″
7.25″ x 9.75” diameter (18.75 cm x 24.5 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 299
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Bowl
Studio, executed 1960
Tiger Eye reduction glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “K904″
4″ x 8.375” diameter (10 cm x 16.5 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $4,000 – $6,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 300
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Massive bowl with textured clay
Studio, executed 1960
Orange red glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “L037″
3.5″ x 3.5” diameter (8.5 cm x 9 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 301
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Double curved vase form
Studio, executed c. 1940s
Peach blossom reduction glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler”
7.5″ x 5.5″ diameter (18.25 cm x 14 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $7,000 – $10,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 302
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Bowl
Studio, executed c. late 1940s
Blue glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler”
3.25″ x 8″ diameter (8 cm x 17 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $5,000 – $7,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 303
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Vase form with slight lip
Studio, executed 1962
Mystic blue glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “L927″
5″ x 2.75” diameter (12.5 cm x 7 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $2,500 – $3,500
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 304
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Cylindrical bowl
Studio, executed 1960
Orange red glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “K694″
4″ x 5.625” diameter (10 cm x 14.25 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $3,000 – $5,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 305
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Cylindrical bottle
Studio, executed 1956
Gray Earth Crater glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “H260″
16″ x 3.75” diameter (40.6 cm x 9 cm diameter)
Together with certificate from the Natzler archives
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $6,000 – $9,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 306
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Bowl
Studio, executed 1959
Red glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “K487″
2″ x 6.125” diameter (5 cm x 15.5 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $600 – $900
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 307
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Bowl
Studio, executed 1957
Nocturne reduction glazed ceramic
Signed “Natzler” and retains paper inventory label “H523″
2.75″ x 6.5” diameter (6.5 cm x 16.5 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $2,500 – $3,500
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 308
Otto Natzler
Cylinder with 3 Pipe Inset
Studio, executed 1982
Steel blue glazed ceramic
Signed “Otto Natzler 1982,” etched “XIII,” retains artist cipher, and paper inventory label “X275″
4.5″ x 4.25” diameter (11 cm x 11 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Provenance: Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (gift from the artist 2001)
Estimate: $2,000 – $3,000
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Lot 309
Gertrud & Otto Natzler
Flaring bowl
Studio, executed 1963
Gold Hare’s Fur glazed ceramic with crystals
Signed “Natzler”
2.5″ x 6.25″ diameter (6 cm x 16 cm diameter)
LAMA would like to thank Gail Natzler for her gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Estimate: $2,500 – $3,500
February 21, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

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