This vintage art pottery pitcher with its wonderfully assertive attitude was handmade by Alfred Station, New York potter Eugenia Frith Meltzer in 1996. Born in 1950, her father was Donald Frith, eminent ceramics professor and ceramicist, and her mother was Barbara Tepfer, also a ceramicist and an artist.
Mrs. Meltzer earned BA and Masters Degrees and then did her graduate study with famed potter Warren MacKenzie from 1973 to 1974. Her works are in several prestigious galleries and museums. Her signature is incised on the unglazed bottom of the pitcher "Eugenia Meltzer" and beneath that the date of 7. 1. 96. On the bottom rim is her cipher, the impressed letter M.
This pitcher is an excellent example of brutalist design. Some of the attributes of brutalism are rough surfaces, strong lines and a coarse, somewhat unfinished appearance---definitely not vanilla art. It's a term derived from the French word "brut," translating to 'raw, crude, unfinished.' It stands 10 1/4 inches tall, measures 9 1/2 inches handle to spout, about 7 inches across the belly and has a 2 inch mouth. Made of heavy grey stoneware clay, it weighs four pounds and is in excellent condition.
At first glance, the pitcher appears to have a lava glaze but in fact much of the surface of the body was tooled with hundreds of tiny, indented geometric shapes. The twisted ribbon handle and the stubby spout seem to be "breaking through" to emerge from peeled-back layers. The entire piece was given a handsome chocolatey brown glaze. (White spots, as usual, are only light reflections.) This is a great art pottery piece by a talented and well-known artist.
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