Gertrud and Otto Natzler’s graceful forms with exquisite glazes stand among the most admired ceramic works of the 20th century. Gertrud skillfully threw the clay, shaping organically inspired vessels with thin walls while Otto performed feats of alchemy exploring various firing techniques and glaze recipes to develop signature finishes. Throughout their prolific career, spanning close to forty years, the vibrant duo strove for perfection.
Gertrud and Otto met in Vienna in 1933 when they were both twenty-five. Otto was working as a textile designer and Gertrud was a secretary, though Otto had originally been committed to being a violinist and Gertrud had attended art school. Both were interested in ceramics and the two studied in the workshop of Franz Iskra in Vienna before opening their own workshop in 1935. Their work received early recognition and they were rewarded the Silver Medal at the World Exposition Paris in 1937. They married in 1938 and fled Austria for Los Angeles, where they continued their robust creative partnership and taught for nearly forty years.
Gertrud passed away in 1971 and Otto returned to creating work in 1973, continuing until his death in 2007. Their bold artistic legacy lives on in such prestigious collections as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, among others.