EDWARD WINTER (1908-1976)
Edward Winter played a critical role in the development of enameling in the US in the first half of the twentieth century. Through his writings and lectures, as well as through his own work, Winter helped educate and popularize enameling and increase public awareness of its artistic potential.
Harold Edward Winter, sometimes known as H. Edward Winter or more commonly just Edward Winter, was born in Pasadena, California and raised in Ohio. Winter first studied at the Cleveland School of Art, graduating in 1931. Following a teacher’s advice, Winter studied enameling and metalwork with the prominent designer/architect Wiener Werkstatte master, Josef Hoffmann and ceramics with the acclaimed ceramist and designer Michael Polowny at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna. Winter’s studies in Vienna – where he was exposed to the latest innovations in European painting, sculpture, and design – changed the course of his career and solidified his commitment to enameling and to a modernist aesthetic.
Following his education, Winter went on to teach at the Cleveland Art Institute (1935–37) and Old White Art Colony in West Virginia. Winter created abstract compositions with occasional botanical or biomorphic elements. He often used copper, steel, silver, or aluminum as his substrate and sometimes used foil inlays layered with the enamel colors. The works ranged from household and decorative tableware, boxes and large wall plaques. In the 1950s, his wife and ceramicist Thelma started working in enamel as well, and the pair worked both independently and collaboratively on various projects. They created a number of sizable enamel murals, including eleven commissioned by churches.
Winter wrote the classic enamel texts Enamel Art on Metals (1958), Enameling for Beginners (1962), and Enamel Painting Techniques (1970), as well as many articles on his medium. The first of these was praised as an important book from a master of the craft when it first appeared as the craft of enamel was almost a lost art. His work is in the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Butler Museum of Art, and other institutions.