Friday, November 13, 2009

Marguerite Wildenhain

New book on Master Potter Marguerite Wildenhain:
The Bauhaus, the most famous art school in history, began in Germany in 1919. Among its studio areas was ceramic art or pottery, where one of the first students was a smart, young French-born woman named Marguerite Friedlander (1896-1985), now known by her married name of Marguerite Wildenhain.
In time, she was designated a Master Potter, married Bauhaus potter Franz Wildenhain, designed award-winning porcelain pieces, and, after her dismissal as a teacher for being Jewish, left Holland in advance of its invasion by the Nazis. She immigrated to the US, where she joined an artists' community called Pond Farm in the hills above the redwood trees in northern California. For much of her remaining life, she ran her own pottery school, taught hundreds of gifted students, and secured her reputation as one of the century's most influential teachers, craftspersons and artists.
This monumental effort is astonishing in its richness. It was painstakingly brought about through the selfless contributions of dozens of international scholars, artists (many of whom were Marguerite Wildenhain's students), schools, museums and other institutions.
Conceived of and compiled by Dean and Geraldine Schwarz (founders of South Bear School), this is a vivid, compelling account—both heartrending and amusing—not only of the life and work of an extraordinary artist and teacher, but also of the historical roots of the European concept of Handwerk; the role of pottery at the early Bauhaus; the establishment of Pond Farm by the Herr family; and the continuing, prospering legacy of the Bauhaus pottery tradition in such diverse places as (in Germany) Dornburg and Halle, and (in the US) Decorah, Iowa (South Bear), Fairbanks, Alaska (North Bear) and Spring Green, Wisconsin (Adamah).
This is a phenomenal archive of more than 800 Bauhaus-related images, both historic and contemporary, interwoven with essays, memoirs, diaries, letters, interviews and other candid written texts (often first-person, eyewitness accounts), many of which are published here for the first time.

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