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Elizabeth Fritsch returns to Cardiff: Two new additions to Wales' contemporary ceramic collection
Counterpoint Vase in Twelve Tones, 1975 and Optical Bowl with Fractured Rim, 1974 © Elizabeth Fritsch.

CARDIFF.- Following a popular exhibition to mark the 70th Birthday of the major Welsh-born ceramic artist Elizabeth Fritsch last year, visitors to National Museum Cardiff are once again able to enjoy a display of contemporary ceramics including works by the Welsh born artist.

Thanks to the support of the Art Fund and the Derek Williams Trust, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales has acquired two new pieces by Elizabeth Fritsch, which form part of a new display at the Museum. Optical Bowl with Fractured Rim, 1974 and Counterpoint Vase in Twelve Tones, 1975 costing £20,800 are important examples of Fritsch’s early work, of types that rarely become available.

Andrew Renton, Head of Applied Art at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales explains why Fritsch’s style is so unique:

“Elizabeth Fritsch is a major contemporary artist, whose work is as rewarding visually as it is appealing to the mind. Key aspects of Fritsch’s style are apparent in these two new works, from the precise, almost architectural, hand-built forms and the meticulously painted and worked fresco-like surface, to the intense interest in musical rhythm, optical effects and sophisticated colour relationships.
“I am sure they will appeal to visitors to National Museum Cardiff.”

Stephen Deuchar at the Art Fund commented, “The Art Fund is committed to helping museums and galleries to buy, show and share art for everyone to enjoy. These new pieces by Elizabeth Fritsch are a great example of an acquisition which is nationally and regionally significant and which will be hugely appreciated by visitors.”

The first of a number of outstanding ceramicists to graduate from the Royal College of Art in the early 1970s, Fritsch marked a move away from the dominant wheel-thrown approach to ceramics. She developed a distinctive style based on her own particular hand-building technique and a unique approach to colour and painting in three dimensions. Her flattened ‘2½-dimensional’ forms, creating visual illusions and playing with different optics, established her reputation as a unique and important artist.

Fritsch was born into a musical Welsh family on the Shropshire-Wales border. Taught to play the piano and harp, she developed her talent to a high level and a passion for music has always been apparent in the complex rhythm figures painted on her pots. Based on curving grids which follow the form of each individual piece with mathematical precision, these rhythm figures – as the artist says – “correspond to tempo and rhythm in music” and are used to draw out and emphasise the dynamic structure of a given form.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales including National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, the National Roman Legion Museum, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, the National Slate Museum and the National Waterfront Museum.

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