Carl Harry Stålhane
Carl Harry Stålhane (1920-1990)
Stålhane is a legendary Swedish art ceramist, with a more than 40 year long career at Rörstrand pottery before he established his own workshop, Designhuset.
Trained as a painter and sculptor, Stålhane first came to the Rörstrand factory in 1939. One of his first missions was to paint earthenware under the guidance of the expressionist painter Isaac Grünewald. As a result of this collaboration, Stålhane was invited to an exhibition at the Swedish National Museum with his teacher Gunnar Nylund, creative leader of the Rörstrand factory at the time. This was the young Stålhane’s public debut for which he gained critical acclaim. After further studies in Paris he returned to Sweden and was employed by Rörstrand. In the late 1940’s he first attracted international attention with his typical design for slender, symmetrical vessels in monochrome, matt glazes, inspired by ancient Chinese Sung ceramics. He continued to design these elegant pieces, alongside tableware for factory production. Stålhane was promoted to art director and chief designer of Rörstrand taking over from Gunnar Nylund.
In the early 1960’s Stålhane's attention was drawn towards larger, more rugged forms with thickly applied glazes. He experimented with different
clays, found in the rich soil of the local surroundings of Rörstrand. This was an inspiring source of materials and minerals for Stålhane, who constantly searched for new challenges.
Carl-Harry Stålhane’s production ranges from elegant graceful, studio pieces to mass produced ashtrays and pots, and unique, hand build sculptures. Stålhane did not throw his own pieces, he was very dependent on his throwers. Stålhane preferred to draw designs for forms and then he closely supervised expert potters who worked from his sketches. Applied decorations as well as hand-built forms, were executed by Stålhane personally.
By 1973, Stålhane closed his long and artistically productive career at Rörstrand and left to open his own studio, Designhuset, with the assistance of his master thrower, Kent Ericsson. He continued his artistic development with studio ceramics and went back to the Chinese and Japanese roots which had always fascinated him. Stålhane was in the middle of arranging a new exhibition, when he died on his couch in 1990.