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9 January 2019

Birger Kaipiainen - Master of Ceramic Art


Ceramic works by Birger Kaipiainen from five decades.


Birger Kaipiainen

born 1 July 1915 in Pori, Finland

died 18 July 1988 in Helsinki, Finland


Kaipiainen studied at Fine Arts Academy in Helsinki from 1933-1937. He worked for Arabia 1937-1954 and 1958-1988. He worked for Rörstrand in Sweden 1954-1958 and spent the winter of 1949 as a visiting artist with Richard Ginori in Italy. He received the title of Professor in 1977.


Birger Kaipiainen won many international prizes as well as national awards:

1938 Kordelinin Säätiön Stipendi

1951 Diplome d'Honneur, Milan

1959 Ruotsin kulttuurirahaston apuraha

1960 Grand Prix, Milan

1961 Gold Plaquette Gualdo Tadino, Italy

1963 Pro Finlandia

1967 Grand Prix Expo 67, Montreal

1970 Helsingin kaupungin taidepalkinto

1972 Illum Prize

1977 Professor

1982 Prins Eugen Medal


Birger Kaipiainen had many solo exhibitions in Sweden, France, the United States etc. in Amsterdam, Faenza, Hampurg, Kioto, Copenhagen, London, Milan, New York, Paris, Sydney, Tokio, Stockholm, Zurich etc. His Works have also been shown in nearly 100 joint exhibitions throughout the World.


"As an artist, he was greater than has often been recognised in Finland. He was one of the best of Finland's painters and sculptors but, as ceramic art is not considered the equal of other visual arts, he received less recognition that he deserved. He was a brilliant and individualistic artist who didn't borrow from others or follow fashionable trends."             

Timo Sarpaneva


"I admire the way Birger Kaipiainen worked. Although he was a creative artist, his work had a constant assurance and was always first-rate. He had an infallible eye for colour and the skill to exploit the qualities of ceramics."  

Oiva Toikka


"Birger Kaipiainen didn't title his work. He didn't brag. Sometimes I could see that some work did please him. It inspired him to continue in the same style, using the same animal or plant themes. He said that anything new is born out of something old."  

Terho Reijonen


Terho Reijonen worked as Birger Kaipiainen's assistant for over 30 years. Timo Sarpaneva was world-renowned for his work in glass. Oiva Toikka is internationally acclaimed for his work in glass and ceramics.


See also:

Varttia yli kaksitoista ja hiljaisuus

a documentary movie about Birger Kaipiainen directed by Lauri Ikonen in 1977.


Best regards,
Pasi Pusa

+358 40 5509001

Kruuna Finnish living
Maurinkatu 8-12
00170 Helsinki


info@kruuna.fi











Soprano Irma Urrila and Birger Kaipiainen in Stockholm 1968. Memorial exhibition Birger Kaipiainen, Tammisaari museum 1990.

Ceramic sconce, Arabia 1970's.

Arabia, 1959

Rörstrand, 1954-1958

Arabia, 1937.