Clay Image: Cellist (Deizo: Serohiki)

Plain, flattened columnar closed form, suggestive in its scale, volume, and frontality of a human torso (the cellist) or the cello itself, resting on a small oval base and capped by a flat, oblong top, domed in the center, joined by a sharp edge whose bilaterally symmetrical line is highest at midpoint, sloping gently to either side. Hand-built from coils of clay, with traces of finger manipulations over coil seams remaining on surface as bands of irregular but rhythmical patterns. Pinhole in center of domed top to allow gasses to vent from closed form during firing.

Shigaraki-type stoneware clay, light buff, concealed by coating of red-brown slip except at sharp edges of top seam and finger impressions.

Thin coating of red-brown slip applied in gradations of tone from darker at top to lighter near base. Slip overlaid at top of piece only with thin ash glaze.

Maker(s)
Artist: Suzuki Osamu (Japan, 1926-2001)
Historical period(s)
Showa era, 1987
Medium
Stoneware with red-brown iron slip and ash glaze
Dimensions
H x W x D: 42.3 x 31 x 19.2 cm (16 5/8 x 12 3/16 x 7 9/16 in)
Geography
Japan, Kyoto
Credit Line
Purchase -- funds provided by John and Marinka Bennett
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S1997.32
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Ceramic, Sculpture
Type

Sculpture

Keywords
Japan, Showa era (1926 - 1989), stoneware
Provenance
Provenance research underway.
Description

Plain, flattened columnar closed form, suggestive in its scale, volume, and frontality of a human torso (the cellist) or the cello itself, resting on a small oval base and capped by a flat, oblong top, domed in the center, joined by a sharp edge whose bilaterally symmetrical line is highest at midpoint, sloping gently to either side. Hand-built from coils of clay, with traces of finger manipulations over coil seams remaining on surface as bands of irregular but rhythmical patterns. Pinhole in center of domed top to allow gasses to vent from closed form during firing.

Shigaraki-type stoneware clay, light buff, concealed by coating of red-brown slip except at sharp edges of top seam and finger impressions.

Thin coating of red-brown slip applied in gradations of tone from darker at top to lighter near base. Slip overlaid at top of piece only with thin ash glaze.

Inscription(s)

1. (Louise A. Cort, 10 October 1997) Seal (hiragana syallable su [for Suzuki] inside circle) impressed above incised date ('87) near base of one narrow side.

Label

Suzuki, whose career began in Kyoto in the years immediately following World War II, was a leading figure in the first generation of Japanese ceramic artists who used clay to create abstract sculptural forms. International abstraction is not the only reference in his nonfunctional works, however. His series Clay Images-hand-built shapes covered with reddish brown slip and ash glaze-explores visual and emotional relationships to ancient Japanese earthenware vessels, another important model for Japanese artists since the 1950s. Cellist, from that series, evokes a European musical instrument's form yet stands with the solemn poise of a Japanese tomb figure.

Published References
  • Inui Yoshiaki. Nihon no toji: Gendai hen. 8 vols., Tokyo. vol. 4: pp. 176-208, 248-252, 253, 254.
  • Contemporary Japanese Ceramics. Exh. cat. New York. .
  • Birds of Dawn: Pioneers of Japan's Sodeisha Ceramic Movement. New York. p. 55.
  • Gendai no togei. vol. 12, Tokyo. pp. 67-99, 152-167.
  • Dr. Frederick Baekeland, Robert Moes. Modern Japanese Ceramics in American Collections. Exh. cat. New York and Münsterschwarzach, Germany, December 1993 - August 1994. pp. 184-186.
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 340-341.
Collection Area(s)
Contemporary Art, Japanese Art
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