On March 9th, 2011 the world lost a great artist. Toshiko Takaezu, pronounced Toe-SHEE-ko Taka-YAY-zoo, a ceramic artist passed away in Honolulu at the age of 88. According to William Grimes of The New York Times: “Toshiko Takaezu, a Japanese-American ceramist whose closed pots and torpedolike cylinders, derived from natural forms, helped to elevate ceramics from the production of functional vessels to a fine art…”
Toshiko was born in Hawaii from Japanese immigrants and grew up during the Great Depression and World War II. She attended the University of Hawaii and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Her large closed ceramic vessels were considered to be radical for a female artist during the 1950s and 1960s. Toshiko also taught at the Cleveland Institute of Art and at Princeton University.
Her ceramics can be small and intimate to large towering pieces of art. They are influenced by nature and Zen Buddhism beliefs. The outside of her pieces showcase glazes of drips and brushstrokes. Inside her closed vessels are secret messages or texts that can only be read if the art becomes broken. She also leaves pieces of clay inside that make noise when the art is moved.
Toshiko Takaezu: “I never had the sense of myself as an accomplished artist, and I always had to work three times as hard as anyone else to make my pieces as good as they could be. I am never completely satisfied. There always seems to be something just beyond my reach.” Toshiko worked and obtained perfection in her art.
Today you can find her amazing artwork at select galleries and museum collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and many others.
Make sure not to miss this master…