7404 A pottery henko (sake flask) with brown glaze
Impressed seal mark: Su
Japan 20th century Shōwa period
Dimensions: H. 3½” x W. 5¾” x D. 8¾” (22cm x 14cm x 8cm)
Tomobako (original box) inscribed:
Lid: Henko Osamu Saku (ceramic flask made by Osamu)
Suzuki Osamu (1926 – 2001) was born in Kyoto, the third son of Suzuki Ugenji, a master potter of the renowned Eiraku studio.
Osamu studied pottery with his father and in 1948 along with two other like-minded potters Yagi Kazuo (1918-1979) and Yamada Hikaru (1923-2001) he co-founded the influential Avant-garde group called Sōdeisha (Clay Assosiation) a Chinese ceramic term meaning a glazing flaw.
The aim of this group of potters was to instill a more artistic and expressive dimension in pottery relieving the final object of its utilitarian purpose and giving a new form and meaning to the discipline. Therefore their creations could not be categorized as mere ceramics and they were often referred to as Obuje Yaki (Ceramic Art Object). Osamu took to creating organic and formalistic ceramics as a result of combining clay and fire often entitling his works deizō (earthen figure) or deishō (clay image). Mainly inspired by nature’s forms, his sculptural works borrowed the forms of animals and natural phenomena. Osamu preferred the yakishime technique firing the piece without any glaze and often using red clay, but he also made pieces with the Seihakuji technique (pale blue celadon)
In 1961 Suzuki won at the Japan Ceramic Society and the following year he won the Golden prize at the International Pottery Exhibition, Prague. Following his international success Osamu became assistant professor in ceramics at Osaka University of Arts in 1968, won the Golden prize at the Vallauris Biennale International Pottery Exhibition in 1970 and the following year he won the Minister for Trade prize at the International Pottery Exhibition, Faenza. Following Yagi’s premature death in 1979 he took over the teaching of ceramics at Kyoto City University of Arts. Osamu taught there until his retirement in 1999. The same year he had an exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo and in 2013 after his death, the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto held a big retrospective exhibition of Suzuki Osamu entitled after the artist’s philosophy; From Using clay to Viewing clay to Reading clay.
Works by the artist can be found in the collection of: Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo; Kyoto Munincipal Museum of Art