Recent Gift of Art

Rare and important mid-century studio ceramics by Maija Grotell, Laura Andreson, Glen Lukens, and Gertrud and Otto Natzler were a gift of Philip Aarons and Shelley Fox Aarons in honor of Jules and Jeanette Aarons in 2012. Selections from the Aarons Collection are on view in Gallery 336 (1940s and 50s) in the Art of the Americas Wing, where these one-of-a-kind objects can be viewed along with other examples of art and design of the era--including paintings, sculpture, furniture, silver, works on paper, and commercially-produced ceramics.

From the 1930s through the 1960s, American studio craft artists—including ceramicists—carried the aims of the Arts and Crafts movement into the era of modernism and good design. In their independent studios, studio ceramicists designed and made their own innovative works, often experimenting with new techniques and aesthetics. Glen Lukens’ “Desert” bowls exhibit the new direction of ceramic design in mid-century California, using strong colors, dripped and crackled glazes, and large, bold forms. Laura Andreson’s early work was strongly influenced by Lukens, and her vessels—decorated with rich crackled glazes on dense ceramic bodies—are extremely rare. The rough, organic textures of the “crater” glazes on Gertrud and Otto Natzler’s vessels evoked the desert landscape of southern California. Maija Grotell, best known for her 28-year teaching career at the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, worked with unusual materials, such as the platinum applied to V-shaped ornaments on the monumental jar shown here.

In addition to the works illustrated, the Aarons collection includes another 65 pieces of mid-century studio ceramics from eighteen other influential artists including Leza McVey, Beatrice Wood, and Mary and Edwin Scheier. With this gift, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston now holds one of the finest collections of American studio ceramics of any museum in the world.


For more information on making a gift of art, please call the Gifts of Art Program at 617-369-4047.