ceramics

SUZUKI Osamu | Celadon Plate -Boat-

SUZUKI Osamu 鈴木治 (1926-2001)
Celadon Plate -Boat-  平鉢 舟, 1978
H3.3" x Dia15", H8.5 x Dia38.2cm
Porcelain
Signed す Su at the back
With Signed Wood Box

The importance of artist Suzuki Osamu and the Sodeisha group goes without saying here. We have shared with you Osamu’s gorgeously minimalist abstract horses, birds, and plants, and are thrilled to bring you this rare and unusual gem of a piece. This poetic work comes from the late 1970s, when Osamu was at the height of his career. The simple beauty and seamless integration of form and design on display here are the hallmarks of a mature and sensitive artist, and show us Osamu’s skill at its peak. 

This large pale blue glazed platter—a very rare work from this artist—highlights Osamu’s versatility. The platter is glazed in beautiful clear blue celadon, a color evocative of the pale blue of a sunlit sea. The face carries a nautical scene: five abstract ships float on a sea of small waves. The waves seem to move this way and that, bringing an energy to the work that shimmers under the light. Osamu has taken a popular theme in Japanese art, exemplified most famously by Hokusai’s iconic big wave, and made it his own. His waves are almost cartoonish, bringing a levity to the piece that conveys a sense of lightness and fun. 

Osamu finishes this wheel-thrown piece by pinching the edges, leaving finger marks and producing an uneven edge that furthers the feeling of shifting seawaters. His process evokes but does not replicate traditional Japanese platter-making. This piece is shaped from white porcelain clay and finished with the translucent pale blue glaze that originated in Chinese Song ware. The title (舟) indicates small boats of the kind that can be found in Japanese scrolls and paintings. Picasso has said that good artists must unlearn what they have learned of tradition, and here Osamu takes his advice by turning to unorthodox sources for his imagery. The result is a playful and quietly beautiful scene that, for all its simplicity, is without a doubt the work of a master.

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