Gwyn Hanssen Pigott / Australia 1935–2013 / Three inseparable bowls c.1988–89 / Porcelain, wheelthrown and wood fired / 8 x 20.1cm (diam.); 6.5 x 17.7cm (diam.); 6 x 16.5cm (diam.) / Gift of the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts through the Queensland Art Gallery Foundation 2012. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program / Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art

Gwyn Hanssen Pigott
Three inseparable bowls c.1988–1989

Not Currently on Display

The tradition of functional ceramics has informed Gwyn Hanssen Pigott’s work throughout her long career, and has manifested in an astonishingly consistent quality of clarity of vision and precision of execution.

To hear Hanssen Pigott speak of the formal qualities of her ceramic vessels is to appreciate how important these properties are to potters, and how the framework of European art history has not generally explored them. These properties include the defining character of each rim, foot and profile, the volumetric presence of the interiors, and the penetrations of the vessels into surrounding space.

Hanssen Pigott’s work has always excelled in a certain refined sensibility, reticent and delicate, while her colours have generally been muted and gentle. Her pieces are glazed in related colours and groups and fired in a single kiln. She then selects individual objects to group together for her still lifes.

Distinguished Australian ceramicist Gwyn Hanssen Pigott was known for her functional ceramic forms, often grouped together as still-life compositions that invite the viewer to contemplate their formal and spatial relationships.

She was particularly influenced by the still, calm presence of works by Italian painter and printmaker Giorgio Morandi and English potter Bernard Leach. Having studied the profound impact of Leach’s philosophy on pottery in postwar Australia, Hanssen Pigott travelled to England in 1958 to further her studies at the Leach Pottery in St Ives.

She has influenced future generations of ceramicists in Australia through her teaching, residencies and potteries, including seven years as the potter-in-residence at what is now the Kelvin Grove campus of the Queensland University of Technology.