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Ruth Keller Swiss ceramist with links to Margrit Linck and other Studios

February 7, 2024

Some 20 years ago I was fortunate to find a new home in Switzerland. This started my interest in Swiss ceramics which i found to be so varied and with signatures which were either unreadable or simple a mark. The forms and colours were of interest and bewidering to say the least, Of note there were so many items with fish or sea motifs, even though Switzerland is land bound. So I goobled up all there was of offer and thereby found out much later who these artists were. At the time there was little or no information about these artists. I was able to put together some 60 pieces of Gustav Spörri which really interested me as his shapes, subject matter and colours were so wide and varied. I sold these as a collection and that spured me on to dicipher who the other artists were with a simple mark. One that intrigued me was a Lizard mark.(The lizard Lady Ruth Keller)

Finally i was able to lay my hands on wonderful information of Ruth Keller( the Lizard Lady)and her life story as a ceramist who had her own studio and produced some facinating ceramics over the years. The name Lizard Lady has stuck with her over the years as when she was a child she would crawl over and under everywhere with the family saying she was like a lizard. This name Lizard (Eidechse)became her trade mark and the name of her studio and shop.Ruth, the daughter of Laurent Keller the well known sculptor found an artistic flair in clay at the early age of 23 years. Her first step on the ladder was an apprenticeship at the Sihl Studio in Zurich where she learnt the art of using the wheel for her creations.

At this time she met Margrit Linck and worked in her studio for some 9 months where Margrit Linck taught her the art of painting on porcelain and ceramics.Here is a comparison, dare I, between the styles that she was being taught by Margrit Linck. The plate with birds and other animals is by Ruth, a the partial image of a large charger is by Margrit Linck.

Margrit Linck : Teller

Linck encouraged Ruth to open her own studio but as it was shortly after the war, times were hard and this seemed risky but with determination Ruth purchased a second hand wheel and started creating. This seemed to be the easy part but then she had to have her items burnt in an oven and not that easy as she had to load up her wares and ride by bicycle, who today would have that strength riding back and forth, belief in herself, not many i dare to say, all the way to Zurich where ovens were available.

A stroke of fortune came her way where she was invited to exhibit her creations at an art exhibition in Kilchberg enabling her to reach a wide audience and public.

ruth kellar at work

At this time she recieved a loan and purchased her own oven and with fortitude she opened her first studio in 1947. A short while later she met Margrit Hoz and together they flourished as a great long time friend/partnership, each having their own artistic style in form and painting. M.Hoz was talented and educated in the art of painting on ceramics.

As a team they had great success and their studio and shop boomed which allowed them to diversify into other forms and glazes.

The information above as well as the photos posted  with consent supplied by a direct decendant of Ruth Keller.

Anyone holding/having these ceramics and willing to sell or simply share their finds i would be delighted in hearing from

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