BERNDT FRIBERG (Swedish, 1899-1981)
Collection of Studio Vases, Gustavsberg, ca. 1955
porcelain, "hare's fur" glaze
Heights vary, 9.25 - 21.25 inches
Berndt Friberg (Swedish, 1899 - 1981) is one of Sweden's most distinguished ceramic artists, and is recognized in particular for the depth of his specialized glazes and the precise execution of his immaculate hand thrown forms.
Friberg was born in Höganäs to a family of potters and had been producing ceramic work from the age of 13. In 1944, Friberg was apprenticed as a thrower to Wilhelm Kåge and Stig Lindberg at Gustavsberg Potteries, two of the most prolific and renowned ceramists in Sweden. Friberg was also active at Gustavsberg Studio, which was established as an experimental workshop under Kåge in 1942. Gustavsberg Studio served as an incubator for fascinating advances in ceramic artistry, and permitted individual artists like Friberg to perfect and improve upon traditional techniques. It was there that Friberg developed his signature forms and glazes.
Each one of Friberg's ceramic vessels was personally hand thrown and therefore unique. Friberg produced superlative forms, owed to his meticulous attention to detail, and he was known to destroy any work that did not meet his exacting standards. Friberg's ceramics are also distinctive for their exquisite matte glazes, which he developed with Chinese and Japanese traditions in mind. These glazes are characterized by a "hare's fur" effect that manifests as delicate striations where the glaze is applied; this lends an apparent depth to each of his vessels.
Friberg created his signature ceramics up until his death in 1981. His works were collected by King Carl Gustaf of Sweden, Yves Saint Laurent and Robert Mapplethorpe, and his works are featured in a multitude of prestigious public collections.
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto
Museum of Applied Art, Copenhagen
National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
1948, 1951, 1954 Gold Prize, Triennale di Milano
1960 Gregor Paulsson Trophy
1965 First Prize at the Faenza International Ceramic Art Competition
1980 Prince Eugene Medal, Sweden