Auction  November 28, 2017  Chandra Noyes

Phillips Offers Monumental Voulkos Sculpture

Courtesy Phillips

Peter Voulkos, Rondena, 1958, Stoneware, paddled and constructed wheel-thrown elements, brushed cobalt, iron, and white slips, epoxy.

At the upcoming Phillips Design Evening Sale, on December 12, 31 beautiful objects are up for auction. These include a George Nakashima coffee table and several pieces designed by Alberto Giacometti. Standing out among an impressive collection of design objects is Peter Voulkos’ monumental clay sculpture, Rondena. At over five feet tall, this is a dramatic piece of stoneware, with an organic, curving form, that is complemented by geometric surface designs painted in white, red, black and cobalt blue.

Voulkos began his career making functional ceramic vessels. In the late 1950’s, Voulkos’ work became more expressive, favoring rough textures and rugged tears over smoothness and delicacy. In moving away from functionality and towards sculptural works, Voulkos was pivotal in pioneering a movement of abstract expressionist ceramic sculpture. This movement connects the worlds of craft pottery and fine arts. Indeed, Voulkos’ works appears in the collections of modern art museums as well as fine craft museums.

Courtesy Phillips

Peter Voulkos, detail Rondena, 1958

Rondena, created in 1958, is a beautiful example of Voulkos’ ability to merge modern art with traditional pottery forms. While the work stands alone as an abstract piece of sculpture, it maintains its connection to Voulkos’ ceramic rots, marrying the textural qualities of clay with the size, color palette and abstract form of modern sculpture.

Phillips estimates the work will bring from $300,000-$500,000.

Read more about this auction here.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

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