Tag Archives: Gertrud & Otto Natzler

The Natzler Miniature: A Small Masterpiece

After several conversations with Gail Natzler we have properly cataloged the five Natzler ceramics that will be in the upcoming March 6th auction. Gail remains the sole Natzler authority and invaluable when determining age, glaze and historical information on any Natzler work.

One of the five Natzler ceramics that will be up for auction is this miniature. To our knowledge a miniature has never shown up on the open market, and even Peter said he has never actually seen one in person, until now.  We did some research on the miniature and here is what we found:

Otto and Gertrud Natzler, famous for some of the most admired ceramics of the 20th century, created each piece as a collaborative effort. Gertrud would throw each piece into a refined and elegant form and Otto would complete it using one of his 2,000 unique glazes. When asked about the relationship between Gertrud’s forms and his glazes, Otto explained, “the selection of the glaze is only half the story, since the form will interact with the natural performance of the glaze in the fire.”

This creative relationship was particularly essential in 1965 when Gertrud developed a bothersome inflammation of the right elbow joint, which prevented her from effectively centering the clay. Ceasing to mold clay was not an option for Gertrud, so she decided to create a set of miniatures that involved a low-impact, painless process. Initially, Otto thought she was wasting her time with such tiny creations, but upon closer inspection their beauty astounded him.

Otto recalls this moment: “I realized with amazement that each form was sensed in its proportions to within a fraction of a millimeter; each was, in fact, a small masterpiece.”

The next steps for Otto were to devise glazes that replicated the effects of the larger originals, a technique for applying them, and a firing process that would not distort the paper-thin forms. After several weeks of experimentation, Otto achieved success with his “miniature glazes” and multifirings and reductions. Throughout 1965 and 1966, the Natzlers produced 300 miniatures, each about an inch in diameter and height. This particular miniature was one of nineteen applied with Otto’s green crystalline glaze.

– Contributing Writer, Paul DesMarais

Lot Information

Otto & Gertrud Natzler
Miniature Vase
Executed 1965
Approximately 1.25″h
To be offered in March 6, 2011 Auction
Estimate $1,500 – 2,000

M.H. de Young Memorial Museum. The Ceramic Work of Gertrud and Otto Natzler. San Francisco: California Palace of the Legion of Honor, 1971.
The Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine Arts. Form and Fire: Natzler Ceramics 1939-1972. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1973. Print.


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LA Modern at the Los Angeles Antiques Show Opening Gala

Last night was the official opening of the Los Angeles Antiques Show at the Santa Monica Airport, Barker Hangar, which will is open today (11am – 7pm), Friday (11am – 7pm), Saturday (11am – 7pm)  and Sunday (11am – 5pm)!

As you know from an earlier post, Peter kept the design of his booth very secretive, and I am glad he did because when we showed up to the event, the booth blew us away! The offerings Peter compiled for this show are outstanding: Otto Natzler ceramics (from Otto’s personal collection, which have never been offered on the market), the largest collection of custom-designed John Nyquist furniture known on the market, AND an original Ed Ruscha pastel titled “Preparations”, 1974.

The turnout was equally as impressive and everyone seemed to be having a great time. If you have time today or this weekend, you should definitely stop by the show and see the LA Modern booth. Here are some photos:

Peter Loughrey, LA Modern Booth at the Los Angeles Antiques Show

Assortment of Gertrud & Otto Natzler pieces

Ed Ruscha "Preparations", 1974

December 2008 Digital Catalog Features Giacometti Table and Lamps

We recently republished our December 2008 Auction Catalog for digital preview. The catalog features over 580 outstanding lots of paintings, prints, sculpture, furniture and other decorative objects. Highlights from the sale included:

  • Diego Giacometti coffee table (Lot 209) and pair of lamps (Lots 207 & 208)

Extremely rare set custom executed 1972; original owner

Estimate: Coffee table $125,000-200,000; Lamps $30,000-40,000 each

Realized: Coffee table $216,000;  Lamps $60,000 each

Diego Giacometti Coffe Table, "Grande Torsade (Twisted Cable)", Lot 209, 1972, Estimate $150,000 - 200,000, Realized $216,000

Diego Giacometti Table Lamps, Lots 207 & 208, 1972, Estimate $30,000 - 40,000 each, Realized $60,000 each

  • Gertrud & Otto Natzler Tall Vase (Lot 326)

Studio, executed 1962; Turquoise crater glaze

Estimate: $15,000 – 20,000

Realized: $18,000

  • Claire Falkenstein Custom Hanging Screen (Lot 1)

Commissioned in 1958 for California residence

Estimate: $25,000 – 30,000

Realized: $42,000

Take a moment and flip through the digital catalog and see examples of material we sell through LAMA auctions. If you have any material that is similar and are interested in consigning for the upcoming Spring 2010 auction, please email Peter Loughrey at peter@lamodern.com.