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Marguerite Friedlander Wildenhain

Biography to Display: 

1896Born Lyon, France

1985Died Pond Farm, California

1940Immigrated to the United States

EDUCATION

UnknownWoodcarving, School of Fine and Applied Arts, Berlin, Germany

1919-1926Ceramics, Bauhaus, Weimar, Germany

WORK EXPERIENCE

1925-1933Ceramics Instructor ,School of Fine and Applied Arts, Halle (Saale), Germany

1925-1933Designer, Royal Berlin Porcelain Factory, Rudolstadt

1933-1940Studio, Het Kruikje (Little Jug), Putten, the Netherlands

1940-1942California College of the Arts, Oakland, California

1949-1952Pond Farm craft school, Guerneville, California

1952-1979Independent Studio Potter and Summer Workshops, Pond Farm, Guerneville, California

 

Marguerite Wildenhain made functional stoneware with abstract, tactile surface decoration either glazed, incised or both. She typically marked her work with a small jug motif inscribed in the well of the foot.

Wildenhain trained at the Bauhaus in Weimar from 1919-1926. While in Germany, she made over 50 designs for Royal Berlin Porcelain Factory, some of which remained in production for over 75 years, and taught at the Municipal School for Arts and Crafts in Halle. In 1933, together with her husband Frans, she set up her first pottery studio in Holland. Seven years later, fleeing the Nazi regime, she moved to the United States.

Wildenhain's friends and art patrons, Jane and Gordon Herr, had purchased land in California to build an art school based on the Bauhaus model. The project was short-lived but Wildenhain stayed on, transforming the land, Pond Farm, into her home and studio. Each summer she taught a handful of dedicated students, encouraging them to be highly disciplined in their work-ethic. Wildenhain saw no distinction between craft and fine art. She encouraged her students to pursue careers as independent studio potters and not to consider teaching positions if they did not want to be teachers. Wildenhain believed in selling her pots directly to customers and not relying on retail merchants. After moving to California, Wildenhain, along with Gertrud and Otto Natzler, was one of the first studio potters to use a kick wheel in America

Wildenhain made ceramic sculptures towards the end of her career influenced by her early training in woodworking and sculpture.

An interview with Marguerite Wildenhain conducted March 14, 1982, by Hazel Bray for the Archives of American Art's Oral History Program is available at:
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-marguerite-wildenhain-12152.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum, Alfred University, Alfred, New York

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California

Luther College Fine Arts Collection, Saskatchewan, Canada

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

Scripps College, Claremont, California

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Behrens, R.R. Recalling Pond Farm: My Memory Shards of a Summer with Bauhaus Potter Marguerite Wildenhain. Bobolink Books: Dysart, Ipwa, 2005.

Kath, R., ed.  The Letters of Gerhard Marcks and Marguerite Wildenhain, 1970-1981: A Mingling of Souls. Ames, Iowa: Iowa State Press, 1991.

Schwarz, Dean and Geraldine, eds. Marguerite Wildenhain and the Bauhaus: An Eyewitness Anthology. South Bear Press Decorah, Iowa, 2007.

_______, Dean and Geraldine, eds. Centering Bauhaus Clay: A Potter's Perspective. Decorah, Iowa: South Bear Press, 2009.

Sessions, Billie. Ripples: Marguerite Wildenhain and Her Pond Farm Students. San Bernardino, California: Fullerton Art Museum, 2002.

Wildenhain, Marguerite. Pottery, Form and Expression. Palo Alto, California: Pacific Book Publishers, 1962.

_________, Marguerite. The Invisible Core: A Potter's Life and Thoughts. Palo Alto, California: Pacific Book Publishers, 1973.

 

 

Typical Marks

Pond Farm with jug motif hand inscribed in foot well.

1942-1949
ca 1946
ca 1950s
ca 1950s
1954
1954
ca 1970
1970s
Pitcher
Date: 1940-1942
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Tea Set
Date: ca 1946
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Everson Museum of Art Collection, purchase gift of Richard B. Gump, 11th Ceramic National, 1946
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art Collection, purchase gift of Richard B. Gump, 11th Ceramic National, 1946
Photo: John Polak
Pitcher
Date: 1950-1960
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Bowl
Date: 1950-1960
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Tumbler
Date: 1950-1960
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Vase
Date: 1954
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.133, Scripps College Collection
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.133, Scripps College Collection
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Bowl
Date: 1954
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.205, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.205, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Vase
Date: 1954
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Wax Resist
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.136, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.136, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Bowl
Date: 1956
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.299, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 78.1.299, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Vase
Date: ca 1970
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Incised
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of the Trideca Society in memory of its first President, Ralph Drake 2004.97
The Cleveland Museum of Art, Gift of the Trideca Society in memory of its first President, Ralph Drake 2004.97
Plaque
Date: 1970-1980
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified April 26, 2019. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/wildenhain