Item: Small Cup
Designer/Maker: Erik Gronborg – The Danish artist came to the states in 1959 and to UC Berkeley in 1960. There, he was instrumental in developing the artist-foundry movement begun at Peter Voulkos and Donald Haskin’s ‘Garbanzo Works,’ described by Joe Pugliese in 1963 as “ the most cooperative, most confused, most productive, and most slap stick do it yourself foundry operation ever on record.” Gronborg’s style was utterly unique, he worked in both wood and cast metals and received the prestigious City of Paris Award at the 1963 Paris Bienale. As part of the landmark Onze Sculpteurs Americains, comprised of artists involved with the Berkeley art department, who received a special group prize, Gronborg was singled out for the Paris Bienale’s highest honor and had a solo show at the Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris. This early stage in Gronborg’s career is well documented in Artforum magazine and the Creative Casting exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Crafts in NYC (Gronborg and Harold Paris shown working in the Berkeley foundry throughout the catalog), but it was only the beginning. He went on to national recognition as a ceramist often associated with the funk movement, and was included in major exhibitions like Objects:USA in 1969. After settling in San Diego in the mid 1970s, he began to make studio furniture that also won national acclaim and was featured in Dona Meilach’s important survey, Woodworking: the New Wave. Always an innovative and singular artist, Gronborg was central to some of the most significant American art and craft developments of the mid 20th century.
Description: This early ceramic cup was made while Erik Gronborg lived in Portland, Oregon, and was teaching at Reed College and falls squarely within the context of art cups by his west coast contemporaries: Voulkos, Bengston, Price and Nagle. But for Gronborg, it reflects a transitional period before he largely abandoned the wheel and is signed in the manner of his earliest pieces, with his first name only.
Dimensions: 2″ dia, 3 1/2″ high
Condition: Good with slight flaking at top rim.
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