Vase by Berndt Friberg for Gustavsberg,
Sweden, 1950s.

Brown hare fur glaze. Stoneware.

Berndt Friberg was born in the southern Sweden town of Hoganas. He came from a long line of ceramists, in an area steeped in the tradition of finely crafted pottery. Berndt started working at the nearby Hoganas ceramic factory when he was only 13 years old.

Berndt was fortunate to inherit his grandfather's turntable and to receive training from a talented uncle. He was a quick study, exhibiting innate artistic skill and a strong work ethic. During his 18 years at Hoganas, he became quite an accomplished thrower. In 1934, he was hired by the prestigious Gustavsberg ceramic factory in Stockholm.

During his first years at Gustavsberg, Berndt Friberg worked as a thrower for the legendary artistic leader, Wilhelm Kage. Berndt's arrival was marked by a significant increase in the quality of Kage's art pieces. Soon enough, he became the undisputed master thrower at Gustavsberg. Through his early career, Friberg wasn't known for his artistic ambition. His artistic debut wouldn't come until the age of 42, when he exhibited in Stockholm with other Gustavsberg artists.

Friberg became known as a perfectionist with an eye for delicate, sensuous forms and magnificent glazes. His works ranged in size, from no higher than a few centimeters to large floor vases. The contours were reminiscent of classic styles, including Chinese stoneware from the Song Dynasty.

Friberg’s early glazed works were matte but became increasingly shiny from the late 50s onward, often showing striking geometric patterns. His work consists of objects in every size, ranging from miniatures — the smallest of which is no larger than a couple of centimetres — to large floor vases. Friberg always placed each of his vessels on a small foot ring, and since he was a perfectionist, he made sure that there were never any dried glaze droplets on these characteristically brown foot rings.

H: 13.5 cm/ 5 1/2"
W: 8.5 cm/ 3 1/2"

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