Alfaraz Vase

This Alfaraz vase is a masterpiece of Spanish mid-century modern artistry. Produced by the Cerámica Artística Alfaraz (Alfaraz Pottery) in the 1950s or 60s, the hand-drawn woman’s face on the vase has a Picasso-flavored Iberian beauty. The design was created by applying two layers of contrasting slip to the unfired red stoneware, then scratching an outline drawing into the surface, a process known as sgraffito. The hand-thrown vase is 11″ (28 cm) high, with a diameter of 4″ (10 cm) at the base, 6″ (15 cm) at the widest point, and tapering to 3″ (8 cm) at the lip. It is marked on the base: “Alfaraz / Made in Spain.” It is heavy, weighing just under 4 pounds (1.8 kg) .

This item is for sale. View it here.

Condition notes: This vase is in perfect condition, with no chips, cracks, scratches or repairs.

In 1952, Miguel Durán-Loriga y Rodrigáñez started the Cerámica Artística Alfaraz in the town of Alcala de Henares, just north of Madrid. Durán-Loriga was a noted mid-20th century Spanish ceramicist, designer, architect and professor.

The pottery had two rather distinct production lines. The first produced wonderful decorative items, vases, gift boxes and fanciful figures of Spanish people and animals. These mid-century avant-garde designs are truly remarkable. The other line produced ceramic architectural murals, dazzling creations of the architect’s artistry. He called his mural projects “paramentos”, which can be translated as “adornments” or “vestments.” Eventually he transferred the pottery to a cooperative owned and operated by the workers. The history of European mid-century ceramics can not be written without a chapter on Durán-Loriga.

Durán-Loriga was the designer and architect of a revolutionary mid-century ceramic masterpiece, the fountain in the Plaza de la Glorieta in Elche, Spain (built in the late 1960s). Unhappily, it was torn down; but, happily, the town recently rebuilt an exact replica of the fountain in the Parc Municipal.

Durán-Loriga defined his ethic in this way: “The precursor of the industrial designer is a craftsman.”