Gordon Baldwin O.B.E. was born in Lincolnshire in 1932; his career has spanned more than fifty years. Baldwin’s studies began at the Lincoln School of Art followed by the Central School of Art and Design between 1950 and 1953. Baldwin then went on to teach at Eton College and worked from a rooftop studio before moving to his current Shropshire based studio.
What makes Gordon Baldwin’s work so interesting is that he challenges the boundaries of art and craft breaking with the Leach tradition of pottery and working in a more sculptural abstract manor whilst still referring to works as vessels. Some of the artist’s most abstract works still have foundations in everyday objects such as a bottle and stopper, bowl or vase and yet share more similarities with a focal point in a vast landscape than that of a utilitarian vessel.
Baldwin finds satisfaction in ‘forms which have a certain awkward resonance’ and has described his work as ‘a non search for beauty’. Gordon Baldwin works in a painterly manor using subtle or heavy patterns to separate the delicate textures of his surfaces and use a limited palette to maximum effect. The artist draws inspiration from landscapes especially those with wide open unpopulated spaces and refers with reverence to an inlet on the North Wales coastline on the Lleyn Pennisula as the ‘place of stones’ where the artist ‘looked for emotional correspondences; I listened to the sea alone and stared at the landscape almost empty of people. I celebrated it with my camera. Such places are best faced alone and now they are in my studio with me’. The influence on the works of Gordon Baldwin can be linked to Umberto Boccioni’s post-cubist ideas however other sources as varied as Classical sculpture, Surrealism and Dada are drawn upon to shape the unique output of the artist.
Gordon Baldwin is one of the most significant studio potters of the 20th and 21st Century and as such his work performs strongly at auction. His place in the history of art and ceramics has such importance that in 1992 he was awarded O.B.E. and in 2000 he received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art. Gordon Baldwin’s work can be found in many public collections worldwide. As with all pottery, the value of the individual item is largely dependent on the age, condition and rarity. Any damage reduces value considerably, but good, clean examples with no chips or cracks are in demand.
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