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ca. 1958 Paul Soldner Born: Summerfield, Illinois 1921 Died: Claremont, California 2011 glazed stoneware 21 3/4 x 20 3/4 in. (55.3 x 52.7 cm) diam. Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of Hermine and Lloyd Beck 1991.175.5 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 53B

Luce Center Quote

“[Soldner’s work has] . . . a respect and reverence for the natural qualities of clay and a realization of their potential beauty. It is free of gimmicks, free of the quick joke so prevalent in contemporary ceramics.” Judith Dunham, “Paul Soldner,” American Craft, October/November 1982

Luce Center Label

Paul Soldner turns our expectations of beauty and function upside down by inverting the body of this pot on its short pedestal. By leaving a tiny square opening at the “top” of the piece (which used to be the “bottom”), the artist makes his pot perfectly useless. But Soldner carved out the graceful outlines of irregularly shaped leaves to make his pot beautiful, and if he had not turned the pot on its head, the viewer would not see the leaves clearly.


decorative arts - ceramic

Crafts - Clay

ceramic - stoneware