Bay Brasil Trio

These three matching hand-painted vases were designed by the noted ceramicist Bodo Mans in his Brasil decor, created for Bay Keramik in 1959. They are finished in a matte terra cotta and brown glaze, etched with swirling organic sgraffito linework, with gloss yellow, blue and white call outs. The interior is finished in gloss yellow. They are sold as a rare group.

These vases are among the earliest, most valuable designs produced by Bodo Mans at Bay Keramik. The vases have a festive Carnival rhythm befitting the Brasil name, combined with a striking 1950s stance and attitude.

This item is for sale. View it here.

The large vase is 7″ (17 cm) high and 3.5″ (9 cm) in diameter. The ewer is 8″ (22 cm) high and 3.5″ (9 cm) at its widest point. The small vase is 5″ (12 cm) high and 2.5″ (6 cm) in diameter. These vases were hand-painted by an artist, so minor inconsistencies are expected.

Bodo Mans’ Brasil pattern underscores the influence that Alexander Calder, Jean Miro and Paul Klee had on mid century art and craft. Although simplicity and functionality were the rule in modern architecture, the items that people chose to liven up their homes in the 50s often were decorated with wild abstract patterns, bright colors and a warm sense of optimism that contrasted with the cold, methodical lines of the building.

Bodo Mans (1935-2001) served as an apprentice decoration painter in Neuwied, Germany from 1949-51. He returned to school in 1954 for two years at the College of Ceramic Design in Höhr-Grenzhausen, outside of Koblenz. He then moved quickly through a series of jobs at some of the top European ceramic manufacturers. He first worked as a ceramics painter at Keto Keramik (1956), then moved to France (1956-57) to the famed Madoura pottery in Vallauris, where Picasso was producing his ceramic work. Next a stint at Ruscha (1957) before being hired as a designer at Majolikafabrik Rheinbach (which closed in 2012 after 90 years). He submitted some designs to Bay Keramik in 1958 and was hired as a freelance designer, allowed to create both forms and decor. He was hired there full-time in 1962 and went on to direct design there through Bay’s golden years until 1975. Bay closed its doors in 1997.