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Petra on pottery

featuring West German art pottery, Fat Lava and more 20th century ceramics

I started this blog with a post on Atelier Van Eyk. The little ashtray I featured was my only item by potters and artists couple Anton and Dorothea van Eyk so far. Now I have a second one! In a matching decor also dating from 1950, I found a small dish (diameter of 14 cm/5.5″ and 6 cm/2.4″ high), that like the ashtray is made in Terra Sigillata. It is quite delicate, standing on a foot and decorated with a large amount of glaze dots.

The Terra Sigillata pieces by Atelier van Eyk were quite popular during the early 1950s. They were, among others, sold at the distinguished department store the “Bijenkorf” in Amsterdam. Anton and Dorothea were working from a studio in Amsterdam during that time, after having fled Elstra in East Germany where they were under suspicion of spying against the Russians. They had to leave the pottery factory in Elstra behind, where they had been working from 1940 onward. In Amsterdam however, they found it hard to maintain their pottery business, despite the success of the Terra Sigillata. They were only producing small series and one-offs of high quality and the competition within the art pottery business at that time was stiff. In 1955 they went back to Germany to continue their work from Nettetal, just across the border from the Netherlands, in the family business of Anton van Eyk. Here they produced works predominantly for their old East German clientèle. Atelier van Eyk went out of business in 1960, having made some excellent art pottery that, for obvious reasons, is very hard to find.

In 1976 Anton and Dorothea van Eyk moved to a huge stretch of land in Leuth (Germany) bordering on the Venloer Heide (moor). Here they spend the remainder of their life living in a caravan, working on their dream to create an art park and a home, with Dorothea designing the park that featured many large and small works of Anton van Eyk. Dorothea (born Fischer in 1912) died in 1995, Anton (born December 7, 1911) died January 19, 2004.

Besides Horst Makus, I used the article (in German) by Sigrid Blomen-Radermacher from 2003 for the background information in  this post. Also thank you Wilhelmina Spolders for kindly mentioning the birth and deceased dates of Anton van Eyk.

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