The Ceramics of MAEDA Masahiro

Colorful Overglaze Enamel and Silver Works

May 20, 2011 - July 16, 2011
Opening Reception: May 19 5-8pm

One fascinating aspect of MAEDA's work is that despite participating in the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition, that has been held for over 50 years, he continues to go his own way, breaking down the divisions that exist between craft and art. He has also produced a totally new form of the Tea Ceremony through the creation of utensils, such as tea bowls and water jars, earning a reputation as one of the most noteworthy contemporary artists to work within the rigidly conventional world of Japanese traditional crafts.

Striped patterns reminiscent of textiles, painting-like designs applied using delicate, colored lines, brightly colored contemporary forms in deep blue or green, or rich gold or silver; born in 1948 in Kumihama, Kyoto, MAEDA Masahiro is a potter who has ushered in a completely new form of ceramics. He initially wanted to become a painter, but then moved on to ceramics, becoming a finalist in the Japan Ceramic Art Exhibition and graduating in ceramics from the graduate school of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1975. In the 36 years since then, he has shown his uniquely creative works in the Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition every year.

In Japan, Kutani- and Arita-ware are the most famous for multicolored porcelain, but MAEDA does not like the thick, shiny colors of Japanese overglaze decoration, instead, he uses Western overglaze enamels which have lower glass content, applying them like paints to canvas to achieve a beautiful matte texture. In recent years, he has developed a unique technique to establish his striped and checkered styles.

He uses a white porcelain base that is fired at a temperature of 1260º C (2,300º F), then covers this with black enamel and refires it to create a black base. He applies numerous thin strips of paper tape to the black surface, adds overglaze enamel and fires it, repeating this process numerous times with different colored enamels, until he has used 4,000 strips of tape and fired each work 6-7 times. He is a true master craftsman and the finished result consists of multiple layers of colored lines resembling woven textile.

Over the years he has received many awards and his works are in the collections of museums around the world, but this year he received the prestigious Japan Ceramic Society Award. The exhibition at Ippodo Gallery New York will consist of approximately 35 works, including new water jars, pots, tea bowls, vases, etc., comprising an exhibition where you will be able to enjoy both a new form of ceramic beauty and the fun of the tea ceremony.


1948 Born in Kumihama, Kyoto Prefecture
1975 Completed graduate studies at the Tokyo University of the Arts under the direction of Fujimoto Yoshimichi, Tamura Koichi, and Asano Akira
1975 Won entry to the Japan Traditional Art and Craft Exhibition
1983 Japanese Ceramics Today (The Smithsonian Museum, Washington, D.C. / The Victoria and Albert Museum of Art, London)
1990 Solo exhibition at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, Tokyo (also in 1992, 1995, 1998, 2001 and 2005)
1990 Solo exhibition at Kandori, Tokyo (also in 1991-1997)
1992 Japanese Ceramics "Now" A Selection of 100 pieces (Museum Etoile, Paris/Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Main Store)
1996 Masterworks of Contemporary Japanese Ceramics, Asian Touring Exhibit
Member of the Selection Committee at traditional Crafts Now Works Exhibition
2002 100 Years of Contemporary Ceramics (Museum of Modern Ceramic Art, Gifu)
2003 Japanese Ceramics Today, Part1 Part2 (Kanjitu Kikuchi Memorial Museum Tomo)
2005 Moved Arts Studio to Robbongi, Tokyo
2006 Cool & Sophisticated : Contemporary Master Ceramists of Eastern Japan (Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum)
2007 Maeda Masahiro Ceramics of overglaze enamels Exhibition (Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art)
2008 Honorable Mention, " The Second Musse Tomo Prize : Contemporary Ceramics for the Tea Ceremony," Musee Tomo, Tokyo
2009 Maeda Masahiro overglaze enamels Exhibition
(Kanjitu Kikuchi Memorial Museum Tomo)


2005 The 1st Annual Kikuchi Biennale Award - Excellent Award
2009 The 56th Japan Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition - President of Japan Art Craft Association Prize
2010 The 17th Mokichi Okada Award Exhibition - MOA Art Appreciation Prize
2011 Japan Ceramic Society - Gold Prize Award

Museum Collection

The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (U.S.A.)
The Art Institute of Chicago (U.S.A.)
The Philadelphia Museum of Art (U.S.A.)
Minneapolis Institute of Arts (U.S.A.)
Asahi Beer Oyamazaki Villa Museum of Art ( Japan)
MOA Museum of Art ( Japan)