On The Square

Bidsquare Picks: Garbage Heaps and Luster Leaps!

By Jessica Helen Weinberg

Nov 08,2018 | 12:55 EST

It's garbage! As odd as it sounds, ceramicist Victor Spinski considered himself most successful when his artwork was easily mistaken for trash. As a matter of fact, he was known to spend hundreds of hours on a single sculpture just to be sure of it. 

A wizard of tromp l'oeil and avant-garde ceramics in the 1960's, Victor Spinski built a specialized name for himself out of clay. His hyper realistic glazing and building techniques manipulated clay into a multitude of objects, many of which assumed completely opposite materials and textures to that of ceramics; cakes on plates, spilled styrofoam coffee cups, used paint cans, cardboard teapots and more. 

Lot 2190, Victor Spinski, Trash Can with Banana Peel, Painted and glazed ceramic, 1977; Estimate $3,000 - $5,000

On November 16th, Millea Bros, Ltd. will feature one of Spinski's grand illusions as Lot 2190, Victor Spinski, Trash Can with Banana Peel, Painted and glazed ceramic, 1977 in Day 2 of their 3-Day Millea Bros Select auctions. However, this exciting heap of garbage isn't the only ceramic wonder coming up on Bidsquare this month.

In this week's 'Bidsquare Picks' we're centering our wheels and throwing down all things clay!

Lot 122, Beatrice Wood, Vase with figures, Ceramic with luster glaze; Estimate $3,000 - $5,000

Born in San Francisco and raised in high society New York City, artist Beatrice Wood willingly sacrificed an easy female trajectory to pursue her bohemian career in the arts. Schooled abroad in Paris for both painting and theater, Beatrice Wood would accidently dedicate her life to pottery, claiming that she simply needed money and a product to sell after running away from home. 

Upon moving to Ojai, California in 1928, Beatrice began studying under two highly influential potters, Gertrud and Otto Natzler. Her determination and interest in the craft, especially in developing high luster glazes, would drive her toward success. Her work has been exhibited and collected by museums such as the LA County Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. 

The work pictured above, Lot 122, Beatrice Wood, Vase with figures, Ceramic with luster glaze, will be offered in Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Modern Design sale on November 14th

Lot 14, Pablo Picasso, Three Sardines, Glazed earthware rectangular dish, 1948; Estimate $6,000 - $8,000

When Pablo Picasso began his relationship with clay in 1947, his initial intention was that everyone would have the opportunity to own a Picasso. Earlier on, he spent his summers on the Cote d’Azur in the South of France. Then, upon visiting Vallaruis for the annual pottery exhibition in 1946, Picasso felt so impressed by the Madoura works that he was introduced to the owners, Suzanne and Georges Ramié, who welcomed him into their workshop. He was given full artistic license and access, as well as guidance as to how to properly execute his visions. In return, the Ramié family would produce and sell his works - this collaboration with the local ceramicists lasted 25 years. 

Seen as a more relaxed medium compared to the strenuous demands of painting, Picasso often depicted whimsical portraits of women and bullfights as well as playful images of animals on dishes, platters and later, more complex forms such as vases and pitchers.  He produced 633 different ceramic designs between 1947-1971, some one-off's and others editions. 

This clever dish seen above, complete with a prepared meal, Lot 14, Pablo Picasso, Three Sardines, Glazed earthware rectangular dish, 1948 will be offered in Jackson's International Auctioneers and Appraisers, Modern & Vintage Masters sale on November 27th.

Lot 1385, Claude Conover, Ceramic Vessel; Estimate $3,000 - $5,000 

Born in Pittsburgh and educated as a commercial designer at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Claude Conover would come rolling onto the clay scene during the 1960's with a repetitive and particular methodology - simplicity being his principal concern. Known for using his own "clay bodies" to achieve a monochromatic surface, Claude Conover was largely self taught and worked separately from many of the other ceramic movements happening at the time. His signature aesthetic combines massive gourd shaped vessels with scratched, hatched and lightly pressed surface patterns that evoke feelings of the ancient world and lost languages discovered on prehistoric tablets. 

This upcoming example, Lot 1385, Claude Conover, Ceramic Vessel will be offered  in Brunk Auctions, Premier Catalog Auction - Session III on November 17th.

Lot 42, Sergio Hernández, Untitled, Ceramic mosiac on iron frame; Estimate Mex 600,000 - 800,000 ($12,000 USD - $14,000 USD)

A multidisciplinary artist, Sergio Hernández, represents the contemporary arts out of Huajuapan de León, Oaxaca, Mexico. His extensive portfolio of work includes painting, drawing, engraving and ceramics - equally measured in discipline. His work has been acquired by the Museum of Modern Art, the Televisa Cultural Foundation, the Finance Ministry and Soumaya museums in Mexico, as well as the Museum of Art in San Antonio, Texas, and Germany’s Würth Museum.

The breadth of Sergio Hernández's work can be viewed in Morton Subastas, Latin American Art catalog coming up on November 16th

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Jessica Helen Weinberg | Senior Content Editor at Bidsquare

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