Heavy earthenware modern bowl decorated with figure of a woman designed by Mari Simmulson (1911-2000) for Upsala-Ekeby, Sweden. Front signed by the artist. Signed on the back: UE SWEDEN 4156 MS. Size: 7 by 7 by 1.4 inches. Price: $280
Mari Simmulson (1911-2000) was born to Estonian parents in St Petersburg, Russia. At the start of the Russian revolution in 1917, the family moved back to Estonia. During the 1930s, Mari studied at the State Art School in Tallinn. After her formal education, Mari further developed her skills at the nearby Arabia porcelain factory in Helsinki.
After marrying, Mari moved to Munich where she studied sculpture. When World War II began, Mari fled to Sweden on a fishing boat. In 1945, Mari Simmulson began working at Gustavsbergs Porcelain Factory.
Mari left Gustavsberg in 1949, taking a position at Upsala-Ekeby. Together with Hjordis Oldfors and Ingrid Atterberg, she completed a trio of influential female designers who set the tone for the company in the fifties. Mari would remain at the factory until 1972, designing a variety of dishware, vases, wall plates, bowls, and figurines. She often opted for bold, colorful decor, offering a clear contrast to dark, unadorned pottery.
Women are ubiquitous in Mari’s artwork. They are often represented with almond-shaped eyes behind heavy eye lids. The women typically have deep, thoughtful expressions, which contrasts with the playful colors. Mari’s world was a contrast of light and dark, laughter and solemnity, all at the same time.