Ceramic Masterworks: 1962-2002

Moderne Gallery and Helen Drutt in First Collaborative Exhibition at Moderne Gallery


(October 2002)

Philadelphia, PA (October 2002)…Two of Philadelphia’s internationally renowned galleries are collaborating for the first time to bring together masterworks by ceramic artists and woodworkers of the 20th and 21st centuries in an unusual and striking exhibition.

Moderne Gallery in Old City Philadelphia, in cooperation with Helen Drutt:Philadelphia, will present Ceramic Masterworks: 1962-2002 from Tuesday, November 5, 2002 through Saturday, January 4, 2003 at Moderne Gallery, 111 N. Third Street, Philadelphia, PAA reception to meet-the-artists will be held from 11:30 to 1:00 on Saturday, November 9. The public is invited. (For information, call: 215-923-8536.)

The exhibition Ceramic Masterworks: 1962-2002 and reception are part of the activities of “Collectors’ Weekend” organized by The Clay Studio and coincide with the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s annual Philadelphia Craft Show and the visit of Friends of Contemporary Ceramics to Philadelphia.

More than 50 works – ranging from vessels to sculpture -- by major ceramic artists of the 20th and 21st centuries have been brought together by Helen Drutt English and Robert Aibel to be exhibited in the setting of Moderne Gallery’s collection of vintage studio furniture by Wendell Castle, Wharton Esherick, Sam Maloof and George Nakashima.

Robert Aibel, owner/director of Moderne Gallery, and Helen Drutt English have assembled a group of objects by internationally renowned artists central to the ceramic movement:

Nicholas Arroyave-Portela, Jill Bonovitz, Nancy Carman, Anne Currier, William Daley, Richard Deutsch, Richard Devore, Ken Ferguson, Robert Forman, Viola Frey, Raymond Gallucci, Andrea Gill, John Gill, Ray Grimm, Maija Grotell, Wayne Higby, Henry Lin, Daniel Rhodes, Paul Soldner, Rudolf Staffel, Dirk Staschke, Lizbeth Stewart, Toshiko Takaezu, Robert Turner, Peter Voulkos, Paula Winokur, Robert Winokur, Betty Woodman, Sun Koo Yuh, Luo Xiaoping, and others. Prices range from $2,000 to $25,000.

”The setting at Moderne is ideal for exhibiting ceramics in an environment that illustrates how we can live with great art in all media as part of our daily life,” says Helen Drutt English. Her work over the past 30 years – as a champion for crafts through exhibitions, catalogues, developing collections and as an educator and author -- has elevated craft to an art form and a respected field of study. On October 30, 2002, she will be honored as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania for bringing international attention to the craftworld in Philadelphia.

“I am excited to host this exhibition and to collaborate with Helen,” said Robert Aibel, “We have talked for a long time about doing an exhibition together. Ceramic Masterworksgives us the opportunity to be creative in our presentation and to help collectors see exceptional ceramics and vintage furniture, combined, in a fresh light.”

Moderne Gallery reflects the passions of owner Robert Aibel. His abiding interest in visual communication and education as well as an exceptional eye for the “unusual” have built his international reputation as an expert in 20th century vintage furniture, lighting and accessories – from French and American Art Deco and French 1940’s-1950’s furnishings to his unique specialization in work from the American Craft and Studio Furniture movements. In July 2002 Wallpaper Magazine called Robert Aibel “the world’s leading Nakashima dealer.”

Helen Drutt English closed her long-established gallery on Walnut Street in Center City Philadelphia in July 2002 due to urban development. However, Helen Drutt: Philadelphia “will continue to present innovative programs in support of artists to assure a creative public forum for them in Philadelphia as well as elsewhere,” she says. “My gallery activities have never been confined to one location – this union with Bob brings together an aesthetic combination which triggered my passion for the crafts in the 1950’s.”