The Elle Keramikk AS studio was begun in 1942 in Torkildstranda in Drøbak near Oslo, Norway. Starting out making utility pottery out of the local terracotta clay, the company ended up producing some of the best mid-century modern pieces of fajanse (Norwegian for faience earthenware). Elle Keramikk AS is Norwegian for Elle Pottery; AS is the abbreviation of Aksjeselskap, the Norwegian term for a stock-based company. The studio closed in 1967.
This bowl is 12 1/2 inches across, making it one of the larger pieces Elle produced; the largest we've seen is 15 3/4 inches in diameter. The sgraffito designs are in a deep rose pink color that was used on many Elle pottery pieces, often in combination with other colors. On this shallow, white glazed bowl, a ring of leaves atop grooved lines encircles the pink center that has a whirpool design, while the edge is decorated with a white meander design on a band of pink. All of the decorations, both incised and painted, were done by hand in meticulous detail.
Sixty years or so later, the original label has survived on the front of the bowl. It is torn, with the word "handmade" missing; the balance of the label reads "and painted in Norway" along with the word "Norsk" (Norwegian). The marks hand lettered in black on the underside include:
110= the shape number
Ml= Decoration ID (Maple leaves?)
S.L. or S.V.= artist's name, as yet unidentified
From G. & G. D.M. (unsure--made for a specific client from workers at Elle?)
The bowl stands 2 1/2 inches high and weighs 2 3/4 pounds. It's in excellent condition, obviously well cared for and with a tiny glaze miss on the rim (pictured with an arrow) the only flaw in its otherwise perfect condition. It's a superb mid century modern ceramic bowl that makes a terrific centerpiece.
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