Axel Salto

b. Copenhagen 1889, d. Frederiksberg 1961

Budding, Sprouting and Fluted Shapes

With his distinctive organic idiom, Axel Salto transcended the boundaries of ceramics and transformed the discipline of pottery into an art form. In fact, he was an academy-trained painter and supported the Modernist ideas of the time around the First World War. As editor and writer of the controversial magazine "Klingen" (The Blade), Salto intervened in the cultural debate of the time and spoke with a sharp pen about the need for a renewal of art at the expense of the old world's retrospective art.

It was not until 1923 that ceramics became the focal point in Salto’s art, and his big breakthrough came after he was presented at the World's Fair in Paris in 1925. Creating in the spirit of nature became the guiding principle for Salto, and that is precisely why his works may be difficult on the eye at first glance. For what is one looking at? The budding, sprouting and fluted shapes easily bring to mind a teaming forest floor or flora from below the surface of the sea. 

Salto put Danish ceramics on the world map, and today there is great international demand for his ceramic works on the auction market. In 2013, an auction record was broken with a hammer price of DKK 1.2 million for one of his large stoneware vases, which was modelled in a budded style and decorated with black olivine glaze.