Collecting Articles and Features

Why the Simple and Functional Designs of Arne Bang Continue to Endure

Arne Bang (1901-1983) was a leading sculptor and ceramicist in Denmark during the twentieth century. His unique style of simple, organic forms with modern aesthetics, made him one of the most popular and influential ceramicists of his time. Though he passed away in 1983, his work continues to be highly sought after by collectors and admirers of Scandinavian art. We take a look these functional designs on Arne Bang and why they still have appeal. We also include a few example pieces at their price guide at auction.

Arne Bang fluted form bowl in subtle glaze of pale blues greens and greys
Arne Bang fluted form bowl, design no 109, in glaze of pale blues, greens and greys. Estimate £200-£300 / $250-$350.

Arne Bang was born in Frederiksberg, Denmark in 1901 into a family of artists including his famous glass designer brother Jacob E Bang. Bang studied sculpture at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1920-1925. In 1925 he travelled to Paris to work on the Danish Pavilion at the World Exposition.

ARNE BANG A 1940s Danish studio pottery gourd jug with cane handle
ARNE BANG A 1940s Danish studio pottery gourd jug with cane handle. Sold for £150 at TW Gaze, November 2016.

His early work including pieces from his own studio which he founded with Carl Hallier, for whom he had worked with whilst at Royal Copenhagen, were both a critical and commercial success. He returned to study again at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen from 1928-1929 and his thesis of 1929 entitled ‘ A Fallen Warrior ‘, won the Academy’s gold medal and was permanently erected in 1942 as a memorial to fallen World War II soldiers.

Ribbed bowl by Danish ceramicist Arne Bang
Ribbed bowl by Danish ceramicist Arne Bang. Sold for $1,350 on ebay, September 2020.

From 1929 Bang was associated with the Holmegaard Glassworks where he joined his brother Jacob who was lead glass designer there. Arne led the stoneware department and his brother was creative director. He focused on creating functional works that would be accessible to the masses ‘ordinary people’  including vases, dishes, and bowls.

Arne Bang 1930s-1940s Sandstone tulip vase with stylized vertical decoration of a succession of high semi-cylindrical ribs
Arne Bang 1930s-1940s Sandstone tulip vase with stylized vertical decoration of a succession of high semi-cylindrical ribs. Sold for 2,200 Euros at Tajan, March 2014.

He was prolific with some stories saying he created 10,000 pieces a year in the 1930s. Throughhout his career, Bang experimented with a variety of different glazes and decorations, but he always maintained a focus on simplicity and functionality. Bang’s pots are distinguished by their clean lines and unadorned surfaces. Whilst at the Paris Exposition in 1925 he took an interest in the arts and design of Japan, and this Oriental influence can be seen some of his later shapes. The same Oriental influence can  be seen in his muted color palette—which typically features shades of brown, gray, and white—which further adds to the pots’ understated elegance. While many of Bang’s contemporaries favored decoration and embellishment, Bang believed that the function of a pot should take precedence over its form. As he once said,

“The beautiful thing about a piece of pottery is that it ought to work.”

Bang won many awards during his career and his work can be found in permanent collections including the Design Museum in Denmark.

Arne Bang Pottery Marks

Most pieces are marked AM on the base and many bear the design no as well.

Related
Arne Bang ceramics on ebay

 

 

 

 

 

 

+