Hirotsugu Kawai (1919-1993)

Pair of slab-molded bottle vases
Iron oxide/clear glaze with splash overglazes

Lighter, without box
17.5 x 13 x 8.5 cm
6 ⅞ x 5 ⅛ x 3 ⅜ inches

Hirotsugu Kawai married into the Kawai household and one wonders at his humility, the generosity of his father-in-law, and the spirit of the household, that a young man who initially managed kiln accounts would develop such an expressive art of his own. Working with the family kiln’s clay and glazes, and of course alongside one of the great creative forces in twentieth century Japanese ceramics, Hirotsugu’s forms and motifs were clearly developed in dialogue with Kanjiro’s. His best works do not feel derivative, however, so much as descendent, and reflective of his internalization of Kawai’s approach to artistic creation. The rough clay Hirotsugu preferred is speckled with pebbles visible beneath the glaze and often even protruding at a finished piece’s foot or base. Such course material shouldn’t hold together, but it does and brings a great feel of energy to his works. We enjoy his vases and yunomi in particular, as their rough forms and fluid glazes seem as if they were made, colored, and fired in single fluid motions.

This pair of bottle vases makes a charming yet enigmatic couple.
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