Lisa Larson, Sweden's Most Beloved Ceramic Artist.

Few Swedish artists embody the epithet "beloved" better than the ceramist Lisa Larson. Her figures and sculptures in stoneware, produced at Gustavsberg, can be found in nearly every Swedish home, and collectors, both Swedish and international, compete for her works at auctions. Lisa Larson has become a phenomenon in Swedish craftsmanship.
Born in 1931 in Härlunda, Småland, Lisa Larson studied at Slöjdföreningens skola in Gothenburg from 1950 until 1954. After her studies she immediately began working at Gustavsberg porcelain factory located just outside Stockholm.

Stig Lindberg and Lisa Larson.

Photo: Bent K. Rasmussen, Nordisk Pressfoto.

In 1954 Stig Lindberg, ceramics and artist, was the artistic director at the Gustavsberg porcelain factory and hired Lisa Larson to work together with him. The first pieces designed by Larson that went into production were the Paloma series. The series was designed in 1955 and produced between 1955 and 1956 and consisted of a dove figurine and two ashtrays of different sizes. In 1956 she also designed the series Lilla Zoo, a series featuring animal figurines in brown stoneware clay, partially glazed. Lilla Zoo was first produced in 1956 and the production continued for more than 20 years. The series included three cat figurines, a fox, a horse, a dachshund and a bison.

Fox from the series "Lilla Zoo".

The success of Lilla Zoo spurred Larson to continue her work with animal themes. She went on to design the series Stora Zoo in 1957, the series featured larger figurines than the previous series, including animals such as a giraffe, a zebra and a hippopotamus. Larsons designs achieved great success which resulted in her designing two subsequent series of animal figurines.

In 1958, Larson designed the ABC Girls, a series of figures that she is primarily associated with. The series consisted of five curvy girls, Amalia, Beata, Charlotta, Dora and Emma and were produced between 1958 and 1973. The ABC girls are frequently found at auctions although there are a few rare figurines with "chromolithographs” that were produced in smaller quantities, these figurines are highly sought after at auctions.

Beata from the series "ABC-girls"

With the ABC Girls, Larson's designs took another direction, depicting humans as well as animals. In the following years, Larson designed several figures depicting people, often focusing on themes of family life, sisterhood and motherhood. Samhällsdebatten designed by Larson in 1968 is a prominent example, the sculpture shows a woman holding a man above her head. This sculpture was produced in two sizes with the larger version being one of Larson's most expensive mass-produced sculptures.

Pippi Longstocking.

One of Larsons most desired figurines today is Pippi Longstocking, made in 1967. Due to its complex production process the production ended after only two years. Finding a Pippi Longstocking a figurine without any damages at today's auctions is therefore uncommon due to the limited production and the fragility of the figurine.

The Traffic series, designed in 1970 and also produced for only two years, is also rare at auctions. This series is very different from Lisa Larson's other works, featuring white-glazed pieces with chromolithograph decorations.

Piggy bank, Sträng.

In 1972, Larson designed another iconic piece, the piggy bank called Sträng, inspired by the then Finance Minister Gunnar Sträng. The piggy bank was produced from 1972 to 1984 and is perhaps one of the most common of Larsons figures.

Later Career and Legacy

During her 26 years at Gustavsberg she designed hundreds of classic figurines that have captured the hearts of collectors worldwide. She remained at Gustavsberg until 1980, after which she embarked on a career as a freelance designer. Her clientele included a diverse range of companies such as Duka, Jie, Åhléns, Skrufs Glassworks, Rosenthal Studio, and Goebel porzellan.

Visent from the series "Endangered Animals".

In 1992, Lisa Larson, together with colleagues Franco Nicolosi and Siv Solin, took over the Gustavsberg's Studio. The studio then changed its name to Keramikstudion Gustavsberg. Larson served as the artistic director and designer, and the production of her figurines continued in accordance with the original methods of casting, glazing, and painting.

Lisa Larson passed away in 2024.

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