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Elsa Rady
Elsa Rady: Early Porcelain Vessels
November 2-Jan 9, 2024
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Elsa Rady: Early Porcelain Vessels

The Frank Lloyd Gallery is pleased to present a group of nine porcelain vessels by the late Elsa Rady (1943-2011) as an online-only exhibit. Known for her delicate symmetrical vases and elegant curving forms, she made ceramics her life-long passion, starting with pottery at age seven. Elsa Rady worked in ceramics for over five decades. Rady's distinctive, thin-walled vessel forms gave her an international reputation for refined form, monochromatic glazes, and graceful presentation.

Born in New York City, Elsa took pottery lessons at the legendary Greenwich House Pottery, and was also exposed to the extensive Chinese porcelain collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her interest led her to enroll in Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles, where she started with a class taught by Vivika Heino. Founded in 1921, Chouinard was located in downtown Los Angeles and was a fine art school that later merged with the California Institute of the Arts, now known as CalArts. Vivika Heino was her first instructor, followed by Ralph Bacerra when he took over as the head of the ceramics department.  She was part of a remarkable group of artists at Chouinard, including Adrian Saxe, Mineo Mizuno and Peter Shire.

The current exhibit focuses on vases and bowls inspired by porcelain forms of the Song Dynasty of Chinese art history.  These works are thin, curving and delicate, and often have small notches on the rims of the vessel. The notches would become more pronounced as time went on. In the early 1970s, the cuts in the rim were small, but by 1978, Rady had become interested in other influences, even the swirls and spins of the process of forming, or the progressions on Art Deco buildings. The works in our current exhibit range in date from 1970 to 1980, and encompass this transition.

Elsa Rady has been the subject of numerous exhibits and her works are in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Cooper-Hewitt, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Victoria and Albert Museum. A major exhibit, "The Edge of Elegance: Porcelains by Elsa Rady," was presented in 2021 at the Crocker Museum by curator Cristina Urrutia, and documented a gift of more than 50 works to the museum collection.