Special Video with Paul J. Katrich
and His Dog, Gershwin
Gershwin's Artistic Adventure
"Every artist needs a muse. My remarkable dog, Gershwin, inspires me each day.
"George Lees has produced this delightful film for your enjoyment. Like Gershwin himself, it cannot fail to bring a smile."
Paul J. Katrich
American Art Pottery Collecting
Broadcast Television Interviews
with Paul J. Katrich
Collecting American Art Pottery
Window On Collecting Art & Antiques
A Video Series by Paul J. Katrich
Episode #4: Theophilus Brouwer Pottery
Theophilus Brouwer's abilities were diverse in the extreme. He was a skilled carpenter and architect, as well as a sculptor of public monuments, living in the Long Island, NY, area. Brouwer also decided to create art pottery between 1893 and 1911, calling his studio, Middle Lane Pottery. He used some of the most unusual, complex and difficult processes possible. Brouwer developed a type of glazing which he called "Flame Painting." Remarkable iridescent flame-like effects appeared on the surfaces. A number of other complicated glazes and techniques were developed at his hands.
Episode #3: Vintage Books
Paul J. Katrich talks about collecting books, and he shows interesting examples. Vintage, rare and antiquarian books can often be found at very low prices. Compared to computer files, books can be collected as physical objects, to be held and enjoyed in many ways. Beginning collectors can easily start a personal library. Literature, nonfiction and instructional titles are shown. Book art is displayed, including Gustave Dore illustrations in a copy of Dante's Inferno.
We invite you to become an official "Fan" of
Paul Katrich Pottery, with all the rights,
benefits and privileges that this implies.
"Katrich's work is quickly becoming part of
the permanent collections of many museums and
organizations ... Katrich vessels are known for
their brilliant lustre, texture, and elegant form."
(Antiques and the Arts Weekly)
"Today, his forms are classical with brilliant
colors in deep, thick numerous and
interactive glazes, ... none are duplicated." (PBS Antiques RoadShow Insider)
"Innovative, yet evocative of past masters."
National Academy Museum
1083 Fifth Avenue (at 89th)
New York City.
Sold Out on Opening Night
Bloomberg.com mention of Paul J. Katrich at the New York Ceramics Fair:
New York's Park Avenue Set Ignores Dow's Slump, Shops for Art
By Lindsay Pollock
"Jan. 23 (Bloomberg) -- New York's Park Avenue set has begun buying art again -- battered stock markets be damned! -- judging from the buzz and sales Thursday at the opening night of the 56th Winter Antiques Show.
"Several other art souks have sprung up around New York, timed to coincide with the Winter Show, including the New York Ceramics Fair at the National Academy Museum & School of Fine Arts.
"While most of the ceramics fair seemed sleepy Thursday afternoon, Paul J. Katrich's shiny glazed vessels were a hot item. Katrich sold out a dozen within the first hour of the fair and stuck a handwritten sign in his glass vitrine reading "Sold Out! We Love New York." His work sells for $400 to $4,000.
""If you don't blow your own horn, who is going to do it for you," Katrich said."
The Right Side of Dawn, Luster Vessel 1036, Music of the Spheres, Luster Vessel 807
and Spiral Galaxies, Luster Vessel 812.
To see a larger photograph,
please click on an image.
Design and Lecture Services
Paul J. Katrich is a modern traditionalist.
He is also a degreed Art Historian
and frequent guest lecturer in the
fine and decorative arts.
An accomplished sculptor and artist in many media,
he offers a variety of professional design services.
Mr. Katrich serves as Secretary on the Board of the
American Art Pottery Association.
"I am always delighted to speak to
you regarding your needs and interests.
I am pleased to discuss gallery and museum shows,
charitable events, commissions, lectures or
special purchases. You may expect a prompt
and polite response." - Paul J. Katrich
The contemporary pottery of Paul J. Katrich
consists of fine, hand-thrown ceramic vessels,
fired with rare colors and treatments,
including in-glaze iridescent lusters.
Each piece is utterly unique
in design and execution:
no repetition is possible.
Flawed or inferior examples are
destroyed: no second-quality Katrich
pottery is ever permitted to enter
Summer - August Dawn, Luster Vessel 804, Autumn - When the Leaves Fall, Luster Vessel 815, Winter - The First Snowfall, Luster Vessel 810
and Spring - The Winds Of April, Luster Vessel 816.
An Interview with Paul J. Katrich
by George A. Lees
Q. How did you become a potter?
A. I actually started out with the intention of being a painter. I didn't much enjoy painting classes, but the required Art History college courses intrigued me. I decided to do something related, which might offer the chance of making a living - Art Historian or Curator.
I have always loved art, and even had my own "museum" when I was a child (coins, stamps, seashells, etc.). Museum conservation was a career choice I happened into; one which seemed to offer an acceptable compromise.
Q. What influence did conservation/restoration have in directing you towards pottery?
A. Through good fortune, I found myself working in the conservation studio at a local museum, where I learned a tremendous amount. We had very limited resources, and had to be highly creative to make things work. We restored everything from railway cars to grandfather clocks. I had the wonderful experience of learning from the skilled hands of several older gentlemen, who were among the last and best in their trades. With some left turns, and additional degrees, this job ultimately led me to start my own restoration business. I eventually began to specialize in the repair and conservation of antique ceramics.
Q. Why ceramics, in particular?
A. I had enjoyed antique ceramics and glass for a long time, collecting them myself in a modest way. There was a real need in my area for a skilled restorer - I had no real competition. I was actually sort of crushed by success, because I always had too much business and not enough help, once I became known.
Q. Why did you give up restoration?
A. I didn't plan to - it's an unusual business. People don't realize that as a restorer you pretty much have to accept whatever work comes your way. If you are going to spend months restoring a piece - living with it intimately, you had better hope it's something you can stand the sight of. A good conservator has to almost immerse his personality in the object he is working on: to become another artist and leave himself behind.
I restored some fascinating objects: 18th century Meissen figurines, American Arts & Crafts vessels, ancient pottery, marble statuary, among others. Frequently, I'd have to teach myself an entirely new technique, or buy equipment just to work on a single piece. In the course of this experimentation, I kept finding myself called back to my own art. I had an affinity for ceramics that I never had for painting. I decided to use my accumulated wealth of unusual skills and equipment, and see if something new could issue from my own hands.
Q. So then you were a success in pottery, overnight?
A. Any artist who is looking for an instant reward isn't very realistic. I have a very healthy ego, which has taken quite a beating. Persistence is almost more important than talent.
I made a brief foray into tile manufacture. I found all my time consumed with employees, bookkeeping and people wanting me to match glazes to their sofa cushions. It was obvious that this couldn't be the kind of fine art that I needed it to be. My energies were not being properly used.
Q. How did you begin to make lusterware?
A. I had been aware of iridescent glassware, such as Tiffany, Loetz and Steuben, for many years. Later, I saw fine antique ceramic pieces from the Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modernist Movements, which astonished me.
I have never taken a pottery course nor had a teacher. With books, research, endless patience and frustration, I taught myself to throw vessels and compound glazes. With naievete' and the aforementioned healthy ego, I set out to learn about luster making. Darned if I didn't do it, because no one told me I couldn't.
Q. How do you view your work?
A. I'm like an actor who sticks to a classical repertoire, or maybe an opera singer. I'm an unrepentant classicist. Frankly, I didn't like much of what I saw in the ceramics scene. The Bernard Leach school caused a whole generation of potters to fear color.
I want color back, I want beauty back, and I don't think that elegance is a bad word. I don't claim to have invented lusterware. Neither am I the only one to utilize it. I want to do things with it that have never been done -- through the constraint of well-crafted objects, pleasing to the eye, and refreshing to the spirit.
Q. What makes lusters special?
A. I don't confine my work to lusters. I like brilliant color generally, but lusters contain an evocation of alchemy, which really appeals, and which I can't let go. Many of the past ceramists have gotten the addiction; it's like gold fever. Part of the attraction is the difficulty and expense of the process; the endless trouble to achieve a fine piece, and the satisfaction when you are able.
Q. Which potters do you admire?
A. There are many. I love much anonymous work from ancient cultures: Egypt, Persia, Cyprus and Greece. Of course, the luster compulsion has moved a number of gifted potters: Beatrice Wood, Maija Grotell, Clement Massier, Gertrude and Otto Natzler, Jacques Sicard, and the Zsolnay Factory.
I really identify with an obscure potter from the turn of the century, named Theophilus Brouwer. He was a self-taught innovator, who made incredible and beautiful luster vessels. His work is very rare, and I have never seen a piece that wasn't exceptional.
Glassmakers are also very important to me. Louis Tiffany was, in my opinion, the greatest decorative artist since the Renaissance. The Art Nouveau Movement was a season of giants, producing many extraordinary talents. That Tiffany and Emile Gallé were alive and working simultaneously is comparable to the age of Da Vinci and Michelangelo. They were that good. A contemporary artist, whose work I find particularly exciting and beautiful, is glassmaker Dale Chihuly.
Q. Where is your work heading?
A. I want to explore colors in nature, to the farthest degree possible. I have never understood potters who insist on variations of brown as bringing them closer to the earth. The natural world is riotous with color -- organic and inorganic. I recognize no limits in this regard. Most of all, I intend to create beautiful, meaningful objects that bring joy to the possessor, in the same proportion as they did in the making. This is not a hobby or affectation: this is my profession. There is much left to do.
(from the Edgar Allan Poe poem)
Luster Vessel 951.
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