about 1942
Maija Grotell (American, born in Finland, 1899–1973)

Object Place: Bloomfield Hills, MI, Michigan


Overall: 38.1 x 39.4 cm (15 x 15 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Unglazed blue stoneware with painted platinum luster glaze and glossy-glazed interior

Not On View





Massive round vessel with dark blue matte body with three rows of check marks in metallic silver. Lip also metallic silver.

Maija Grotell was one of the most important potters working independently in the United States between the first and second World War. Born in Finland, Grotell studied ceramics in Helsinki before emigrating to the United States in 1927 in search of employment. She sustained her career in ceramics by teaching, first at a variety of programs in New York, then at Rutgers University, before she settled at the Cranbrook Academy of Art outside of Detroit, Michigan in 1938. At Cranbrook she found a creative environment in which she thrived– both as a potter and as a teacher. As consumate innovator, Grotell complemented her elegant forms with layers of pattern and vivid color, exploring the possibilities of her materials.To contrast with the matte surface of the unglazed blue stoneware, Grotell added a series of “V” shapes made of glossy platinum. She was inspired to use the platinum to coordinate with the chrome-decorated interiors of her Cranbrook colleague, architect Eliel Saarinen.


Incised initials "MG" and Cranbrook stamp "CA" inside foot ring


Capital letter A inscribed inside captial letter C.
Stamp of the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI


December 26, 1995, sold by Gansevoort Gallery, New York (Mark McDonald), to Philip E. Aarons, New York; 2012, year-end gift of Aarons to the MFA. (Accession date: Februrary 27, 2013)

Credit Line

Gift of Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons in honor of Jules and Jeanette Aarons