Josef Ekberg
Swedish, 1877 - 1945
Wennerberg, artistic director
Gustavsberg Pottery, manufacturer (Värmdö)
Covered vase, 1899

H. 22-3/4 x Dia. 13 in.

Gunnar Wennerberg trained at Sèvres, the ceramic center of the Art Nouveau style in France. When Wennerberg became artistic director of the Gustavsberg factory, near Stockholm, in 1897, he introduced the fashionable new style to Sweden. Soon the Gustavsberg factory became well known for the matte green glaze and sgraffito decoration found on this covered jar, which was designed by Josef Ekberg, one of Wennerberg’s students. Sgrafffito, a technique that originated in China, involves overlaying a clay pot with a slip in a contrasting color. Decorations are then scraped into the surface, revealing the ground color underneath and creating raised patterns when the vessel is fired.