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Ildiko de Balas

(1931-2016, b. Hungary) lived and worked in Hungary and Belgium
One Plus One, 1973
stoneware, 36.25 x 21 x 11 inches, 93.39.36

A Belgian artist with Hungarian roots, Ildiko de Balas studied at both at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium. She worked using a variety of materials and techniques, but her preferred mediums for expression were bronze, Carrara marble, corten steel, and clay.

In the spring of 1971, under the auspices of the International Academy of Ceramics, the Tennessee Arts Commission pledged its support for the promotion and establishment of the U.S. International Ceramic Symposiums. The Symposium’s mission to help develop a worldwide network of support for ceramic art was achieved by bringing together top ceramic artists from around the world for a month-long sharing of ideas and creation of innovative ceramics.


Left: Ildiko de Balas completes a seam on a hand built slab construction at the 1973 International Ceramic Symposium. Right: Photo is from the 1973 ICS catalogue Additional images below

Ildiko de Balas represented Belgium at the First U.S. International Ceramic Symposium, which consisted of twenty-five artists from thirteen different countries, and was hosted in the summer of 1973 at the Memphis Academy of Art. While at the Symposium, de Balas hand built large slab forms, creating abstract spires and figures.

After the Symposium, de Balas placed first in the 1976 International Sculpture Competition in Florence, Italy. She exhibited in several biennials and triennials at galleries and museums internationally, including at the Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Museum in Belgium, the Castle of Beloeil in Belgium, the Hokkaido Museum of Modern Art in Japan, the Museum of Bitola in Macedonia, among others.  In addition, de Balas occasionally created outdoor public artworks using steel, the highlight of which being a monumental sculpture created in 1982 for the city of Florence, Italy.

Ildiko is involved with architectural ceramics because of the interest in construction in her country. The size of her work depends on what she wants to express. For glazes she prefers to work with salt, and bones which she grinds herself. – 1973 International Ceramic Symposium Catalogue

Written by Aiden Layer, TN Arts Intern