A Small Cylinder Vase by Alan Lerner
We acquired this vase back around 2004 from an on-line auction. This was purely an “I like that” purchase. We had no idea when or where it was from, other than the signature for a hint. We are not art exports, but personally, I have looked at probably more than one hundred thousand pieces in my searches and this one stood out. The color, composition and execution seemed better than most I had seen.
At the time we were a member of a large on-line pottery discussion board. We presented it to the discussion. Nearly everyone agreed that this was NOT the work of a 5th grader that got lucky. This was the work of an exceptional artist and ceramicist.
The Search Begins
So the search for the creator of this piece began.
Within a few months we thought we were closing in on the artist. We had found Nathan Lerner, A famous photographer and industrial designer. Mr. Lerner may be best know for the iconic “Honey Bear” Wikipedia
Nathan Lerner was best know for black and white photography , but he also experimented with color photography. His abstract works are compelling and it was his abstract color photos that led us to suspect this vase was one of his. See example here and here
He also worked in other media as well. A look at some of his other works is available here
After an exhaustive search for any examples of ceramics attributed to him, we found none.
In the meantime, a collector with a piece clearly produced by same artist as ours, contacted us to find out if we had determined the artist. This is the piece they shared:
Knowing that ours was not a “one-off’, spurred us to intensify our search. After months of looking, the trail went cold.
Fast forward to April, 2023. We decide to build the new website. The old site was put up in 2004, and for the most part, had undergone no updates or changes. The new site would no longer be open to others to post their products. In the past few years there had been no new pieces posted by other collectors.
It was decided that, despite the work involved, every piece would be rephotographed. In addition, unknown pieces would be researched again. So, “The Lerner Vase” got a fresh look.
Google is Your Friend
Using Google to once again search for pottery associated with “Lerner” and using The Marks Project we found this piece:
This new information lead us to Alan Lerner’s website. Clearly Alan’s new work has progressed from these early pieces. Art itself is a quest by each artist to create the perfect piece for that moment in time. We believe Alan comes close, then and now.
Alan’s new ceramic works can be seen at: https://alanlerner.com/section/472563-New-Ceramics-2019-2018.html
We contacted Alan by email to confirm that our piece was in fact created by him. He confirmed it was, and likely produced in the 1990’s.
We wish Alan all the best and thank him for his wonderful work and confirming for us, this piece.