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CMA Gallery 15 Exhibition Displays the Beauty of Bunzlauer Pottery

On View Through July 19, 2015

Columbia, S.C. – The CMA presents, With Sponge, Brush and Stencil: Bunzlauer Pottery from the Collection of the Columbia Museum of Art, a colorful exhibition of 43 pieces of pottery created between the world wars in an area known as Bunzlauer in Eastern Germany (renamed Boleslawiec following the Polish annexation of the area in 1945). This popular style of pottery was hand-decorated with sponges, brushes, and stencils intended for the average home, but celebrated for its colorful and inventive patterns. Artists drew inspiration from the art nouveau and art deco styles and decorated everyday wares like teapots, creamers, vases, and plates.

“The joy of putting together this Bunzlauer exhibition has been highlighting the beauty of a pottery made for everyday use by families like yours and mine,” says CMA Curator Victoria Cooke. “You can feel the warmth of the kitchen and family tables they sat on. These bowls and pitchers are every bit as worthy of museum exhibition as the fine china and silver a visitor usually sees in museums.”

The CMA holds the largest public collection of Bunzlauer pottery outside of Germany and Poland due to the generous gifts of Charles and Ilona Mack in 2004 and again in 2009. This exhibition shows a range of patterns, styles, and methods–particularly spongeware and stenciling–for Bunzlauer pottery drawn from a selection of that collection.

“Aside from its distinctive decoration, what particularly attracted us to Bunzlauer ware was the similarity of its evolution to that of Southern folk pottery we had been collecting,” says collector Charles Mack. “Faced with change, the potters of both regions managed to survive by cleverly altering scale, shape, decoration, and their targeted customer. Such historical similarities provided us with a transitional bridge of interest as we became increasingly captivated by the beauty and variety of Bunzlauer pottery. Although certainly not large by German standards, we believe that our collection of pre-war Bunzlauer Geschirr is representative of the genre’s many forms and motifs and that it provides a good overview of this German ceramic tradition.”

For more information, visit www.columbiamuseum.org

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