Beate Kuhn – Ceramics as an Art Form

The Grassi Museum showcases works by one of the most important German ceramists of the post war era. She died on December 10, 2015. An Obituary

Beate Kuhn was a fantastic artist! It is hard to look beyond her unique ceramics, her signature montages of geometrical bodies strung together, developed on the pottery wheel and covered in a sensitive color palette. She had an unparalleled impact on the development of German thrown ceramics after the war when she abandoned utilitarian pottery for free art in the mid-1960s. Her participation in the London Group as well as her membership of Gruppe 83 and AIC are evidence not only of her interest in and commitment to the ceramic development but of her artistic quality. The sheer number of prizes awarded to her underscore the recognition and appreciation she enjoyed.

Portrait von Beate Kuhn

Her musical-artistic parents seem to have almost predestined Beate Kuhn for an artistic career. After completing her studies at Werkkunstschule in Wiesbaden she founded her own workshop in Düdelsheim in 1957, developing a style that was already unmistakably her own. There the artist lived in close vicinity of Karl, Ursula and later Sebastian Scheid in an atmosphere full of productive creativity based on deep friendship. Here her free sculptures were created from single hand-thrown and cut elements, which she assembled into a whole. She transferred this style principle of stringing together geometrical bodies to her designs of large-scale ceramic fountains. Time and again Beate Kuhn developed previously unknown combinations of thrown hollow bodies. Increasingly, her pieces were characterized by a dynamism that expresses motion, rhythm and change.

Beate-Kuhn-Studio-DSC_3309 Beate-Kuhn-Studio-DSC_3319 Beate-Kuhn-Studio-DSC_3308 Beate-Kuhn-Studio-DSC_3322 Beate-Kuhn-Studio-DSC_3332 Beate-Kuhn-Studio-DSC_3323 Beate-Kuhn-Studio-DSC_3328

Beate Kuhn’s artistic career was accompanied by enthusiastic collectors who admired her artisan mastery and imagination and continuously marveled at the constantly changing variations of her mounted thrown elements. Hence the artist’s distinctive pieces became sought-after objects that are to be found in every eminent collection. Thinking of Beate Kuhn I also recall the pleasantly modest person who lived for her art, with high expectations of herself, friendly, without any airs and graces, and facing her fellow human beings with warm affection, a person who perceived her surroundings with quiet humor and a keen eye, frequently drawing on the inspiration of nature and modern music.

Dear Beate Kuhn, I am glad I was able to get to know you as a very prudent, sensitive and committed person during the preparation of our joint exhibition project. We thank you for your outstanding, unique œuvre! We shall miss you! We can, however, continue to enjoy many of your wonderful works. May it assuage our loss.

Text Gudrun Schmidt-Esters (director of the Keramion Museum, Frechen)

Keramik von Beate Kuhn Keramik von Beate Kuhn Keramik von Beate Kuhn Keramik von Beate Kuhn Arbeit von Beate Kuhn aus der Keramiker-Gruppe 83


  • Grassi
    Museum for Applied Arts
    Johannisplatz 5-11
    04103 Leipzig
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