Mid Century Style and Studio Pottery

Greenwich House Pottery


January 7 - February 4, 2010

Curated by Sara Archer in collaboration with Rago Arts, ReGeneration Furniture, and Astro-Turf Antiques. 

In the 1950s and early 1960s, trends in home furnishings in the United States reflected a complex national mood high hopes and deep anxiety. At once optimistic about economic and technological progress, Americans were also chastened by the pervasive anxiety of the Cold War and the prospect of military conflict with the Soviet Union. It was not unlike the earlier part of this decade: an unprecedented economic boom coupled with unprecedented fear of terrorism. One way in which these impulses were manifested was in the trend for combining the sleek design of manufactured goods with more rustic, pastoral handmade craft objects.

48: Rosewood and aluminum side table, by Kristian Vedel (Denmark), 1960's

49: Solid walnut sofa by George Nakashima reupholstered in Knoll fabric, 1960's

50: Pair of small Harvey Probber lounge chairs on walnut frames, 1960's

51: "Greenwich Village" cotton handkerchief designed by Tammis Keefe, 1950's

52: Edward Wormley magazine caddy, manufactured by Dunbar, 1950's

Poster advertising a Street Dance to Benefit GHP by Byron Browne, 1950, Gift of Sylvia Baker, pastel and ink on paper

Poster advertising a Street Dance to Benefit GHP by Byron Browne, 1950, Gift of Sylvia Baker, pastel and ink on paper

Reproduction poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” from design by Saul Bass, 1958

Reproduction poster for Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo” from design by Saul Bass, 1958

42: Brass and marble table lamp by Paul McCobb with original shade, 1960s

43: Console table with 2 drawers by Jens Risom, 1960's

44: Small hand-built stoneware vessel by Bruno La Verdiere, early 1960s

45: Stoneware Plate by Gerry Williams, ca. late 1950s

46: Stoneware bowl with green glaze by Edwin and Mary Scheier, 1955

15: Walnut-topped “Tulip” dining Table by Eero Saarinen

15A: Pair of leather "T" chairs designed by William Katavolos in 1952

16: Eva Zeisel “Fantasy” pattern platter for Hall China, late 1950s

17: Stoneware plate by Henry Varnum Poor with botanical design, 1950s

18: Earthenware plate by Henry Varnum Poor with potted plant design, 1950's

19: Jam Jar by Bernard Leach, celadon glaze, 1950's

20: Porcelain plate with cobalt decoration by Margarat Israel, 1960's

21: Yellow and silver lustre teapot by Hall Craft, 1950's

22: Contemporary place mats, flatware and napkins

23: Glass tumblers with illustrations of colonial revival furniture, 1950s

2: “Jungle”, wool, Aubusson tapestry designed by Jan Yoors, woven by Annabert and Marianne Yoors, 1968

3: Mahogany Credenza with rattan sliding doors by Harvey Probber

4: Large stoneware vessel by Viveka and Otto Heino, ca. 1955

5: Small porcelain bowl by Viveka and Otto Heino, ca. 1950’s

6: Earthenware vase with blue-gray glaze by Edwin and Mary Scheier, ca. 1954 

7: Ochre earthenware dish by Gertrude and Otto Natzler, early 1960s, 

8: Wood-fired stoneware tea bowl by Peter Voulkos, ca. early1960s

9: Earthenware dish with crystalline glaze by Beatrice Wood, 1950s

10: Earthenware bowl with greenish yellow glaze by Brother Thomas, 1960’s

11: Large stoneware vase by Val Cushing, 1960‘s

37: French clock, plastic and metal, 1950s 

38: Assorted leaflets including Bernard Leach essay, GHP Class Schedule and Not-For-Tourists Guide to Greenwich Village, tack board covered with vintage fabric, assorted postcards from Astro-Turf Antiques

39: Vintage Les Paul 1952 Tribute Guitar, courtesy of Gibson Guitars

40: Rotary Telephone, 1960s

41: Travertine and walnut side table by Harvey Probber

24: Pair of Milo Baughman sliding door walnut cabinets with sliding doors, 1950s 

25: Pair of Tommi Parzinger brass table lamps manufactured by Stiffel, 1950's

26. Cocktail shakers, 1950s

27. Stoneware Casserole by Karen Karnes, 1950s

28. Stoneware Wine decanter and set of six cups by Val Cushing, 1960s

29. Ashtray from Toots Shor Restaurant, 1950s

It was during this period in GHP's own history that Rose Slivka, then editor of Craft Horizons Magazine (now American Craft Magazine) introduced director Jane Hartsook to the Montana-born potter Peter Voulkos who would teach numerous workshops here in the early 1960s. From that point on, both in Greenwich House's studios and in others across the US, American studio pottery would begin to encompass sculptural and expressive impulses like never before. GHP's location in the heart of Greenwich Village, a mecca for creativity and visual expression of all kinds, made it fertile ground for experimentation and risk-taking in ceramics.

According to Sarah Archer, curator, "this period in American history was a pivot point in design where tastemakers, designers and consumers were both looking back and looking forward--seeking comfort in nostalgia, and longing for something new. The design world reveled in an attraction to new technology and streamlining, while the crafts signaled a longing for something more rustic and uncomplicated, perhaps a hipper kind of Americana and coziness than the more mainstream Colonial Revival style of hooked rugs and windsor chairs that predominated at the time."