Art and Friendship
This work is one of several that comes from the collection of long-time personal friends of Toshiko Takaezu. The collectors started procuring her work in the early 1990s and have amassed a stunning selection that not only exhibits the breadth and depth of Takaezu’s production but also speaks to their connection and friendship. One of the plates reminds them of their first trip to visit the artist at her New Jersey home and studio as it recalls the New York City skyline one sees from the train. Over the years they would spend many hours with Toshiko. She was known for her green thumb and love of cooking; the collectors enjoyed many delicious meals together, they also helped her tend to her vegetable garden, assisted in cleaning her pots as well enjoyed excursions to countless galleries and museums in the tristate area—Toshiko always had something planned to make the most of their time together.
Over the years, the collectors would also spend time with Toshiko during her yearly winter pilgrimage to her native Hawaii, where they also owned a gallery. Toshiko was inspired by Hawaii, incorporating the lush colors—blues, purples, and whites—of the landscape into her works. Toshiko lived in an area of Honolulu known as Punnui and her brother had a home across the street. She used one of his spare rooms to store some of her pieces, which is where the collectors found the Momo Form and Ocean Edge Closed Form. The dramatic glaze of the Ocean Edge Closed Form caught the collectors’ eyes because of its unusual bold coloration. While Toshiko traditionally preferred more subtle tones, the kiln sometimes had other plans. This was a part of the work that, although unpredictable, she truly embraced.
When in Hawaii, the collectors took ceramics classes at the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) in downtown Honolulu where Toshiko had started a ceramics studio in 1948. She remained involved in the studio, hosting occasional fundraising sales to support the endeavor. It was at the YWCA that Toshiko made lot 607, the Closed Form, which exhibits a glazing technique that she called a “trap glaze”, wherein she would experiment with leftover glazes collection them into one container to see what would happen. Quite often, a serendipitous effect was produced, resulting in beautiful, sophisticated pieces such as this example.
The selection offered, comprised of twenty-three lots, is an exceptional cross-section of the forms for which Toshiko Takaezu is best known and they come to the market for the first time since their acquisition directly from the artist.