A few artists would emerge in the mid-20th century who would become known as the pre-eminent porcelain artists in America. The Museum’s collection is primarily focused on the works of five studios: Edward Marshall Boehm, Boleslaw Cybis, Laszlo Ispanky, Carl Irving Burgues, and the Bronn Studio. With varied backgrounds and introductions to the art form, each brought his own unique style and perspective and created pieces that were sought after by collectors, museums and galleries. Many of these exquisite pieces were gifted to important figures throughout the world.
As they were produced in limited quantities, many are difficult to find, and the Museum of American Porcelain Art strives to continue to build its collection of these important works of art. We are honored to share the works of these master artists with you and to preserve them for future generations.
Edward Marshall Boehm was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1913. Orphaned at a young age, he was enrolled in an all-boys school for the poor, and later studied animal husbandry. After serving in WWII, he apprenticed with sculptor Herbert Haseltine and taught himself the ancient and difficult process of porcelain making. Boehm married Helen Franzolin in 1944, and the couple opened the Edward Marshall Boehm Studio in Trenton, New Jersey in 1950.
The significance of Boehm’s contributions to the legacy of American porcelain art cannot be overstated. Although his choice of subjects ranged widely, his true passion was birds and other wildlife. Boehm kept a large collection of exotic birds in aviaries at his home, and these birds became some of the subjects and inspiration for his sculptures.
The Boehm studio became pre-eminent in the world of porcelain, especially in its representation of wildlife, and was recognized by world leaders as one of America’s finest treasures. Boehm porcelain is displayed around the world, and has been gifted to U.S. Presidents, Popes, and Royalty.
Born in Lithuania, Boleslaw Cybis became a celebrated painter whose work was recognized throughout Europe in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He became so well-known for his artistry that the U.S. government asked him to create a series of murals in the Polish Pavilion for the 1939 World’s Fair in New York. When Hitler invaded Poland that same year, Cybis became a U.S. citizen and opened a studio to create ceramics in the tradition of Eastern European artisans. Within a few years, he and his wife Marja relocated to Trenton, New Jersey and opened the Cordey China Company where he produced painted and glazed china figurines, lamp bases, and other decorative items.
Cybis shifted his full attention to porcelain in the late 1940’s and opened the Cybis Porcelain Art Studio, where he created remarkable human and animal porcelain sculptures. Because his work was created in an intimate and artistic studio, production output was limited, and the level of detail is extraordinary.
Today, Cybis porcelains are found in museums, embassies, governmental buildings, and private collections around the world.
As a sculptor of considerable note in Budapest, Laszlo Ispanky fled Hungary during the Revolution of 1956 and emigrated to the United States. Drawn to the increasingly respected Cybis Porcelain Art Studio, he joined the studio in 1960 and soon became its Master Sculptor.
Often referred to as “The Living Master,” Ispanky became internationally renowned while at Cybis producing works displayed at museums and renowned sites around the world. His 48 State Flower Bouquet for the 1964 World’s Fair is still unmatched in the porcelain world. In 1966, he left Cybis an opened Ispanky Porcelains Ltd, just outside of Trenton, New Jersey where he continued producing works of art until his passing in 2010.
Austrian-born Burgues became a dentist to please his father, but later studied art. He and his wife Caroline moved to the U.S. in 1940 where he worked as an artist for many years. Burgues never worked with porcelain until 1960, but once he discovered the medium, he never looked back, producing works of exceptional quality. Although he kept his studio closed to the public, by 1973, he had more than 30 employees. Burgues’ works spanned a wide range of subject matters, from wildlife to more whimsical subjects such as clowns and jugglers. His works are featured in many museums around the world.
In the early 1970’s in Lancashire, England, sculptor Brian Ormerod and painter Simon Joyner came together to form Bronn Fine China, Ltd. Both had a passion for the medium of porcelain and decided to focus their considerable talents on exquisite but extremely limited works of art porcelain. They eventually opened a studio in the United States and created a wide range of pieces. Today, because of their limited quantity and extraordinary detail, Bronn pieces are hard to come by, and each piece acquired by the Museum is considered a triumph in its own right.