The Boehm Studio has joined a long list of illustrious international porcelain names that have passed through an ancient history that reaches back 2,000 years. The studio's name derived from its talented founder, Edward Marshall Boehm, who died in 1969. Since then it has been carried forward by his wife and business partner, Helen Boehm, and a skilled staff of dedicated artists and craftsmen.
In 1950, Edward & Helen Boehm started a basement studio in Trenton, NJ, ceramic center of our country since the middle of the last century. Neither was trained in the disciplines of porcelain making. Edward Boehm knew nothing about ceramics and had little formal art education. Helen was not trained for the marketing and promotional challenges which lay ahead of her. What makes the success of Boehm all the more remarkable is that most of the fine porcelain artists of history worked with established studios (some of them subsidized) and concentrated primarily on the creative work, the sculptural prototypes. Supporting staffs were present and skilled, qualities and formulas tested and established, reputations well-known, markets oriented. When the Boehms started their studio, Edward Boehm, the naturalist-farmer had only an innate talent as a sculptor and craftsman, which was joined with an intense desire to excel in any endeavor he attempted. Helen Boehm was the perfect complement, a dynamic, energetic, natural tactician whose inexperience often proved to be an asset. It was she who forged brillant promotional and marketing concepts during the first few years, when immediate acceptance was necessary if the studio was to survive.
Boehm gained recognition quickly by endorsements of museum curators, connoisseurs of fine porcelain and public luminaries. As early as January 1951, the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired two of Boehm's first sculptures, a Percheron Stallion and Hereford Bull. Vincent Andrus, then curator of the American Wing, described the porcelains to the New York Times as "equal to the finest of superior English work." Other musuems took notice of Boehm, as did fine galleries and collectors. By the end of the decade, Boehm was represented in 11 other museums including Buckingham Palace, Elysee Palace and the Vatican. Today the porcelains are in 130 museums and institutions throughout the world.
Early in 1953 President and Mrs. Eisenhower recognized the art and began to utilize it for gifts to visiting Heads of State, culminating in the sculpture "Prince Philip on His Polo Pony" presented to the Queen and Price when they visited the US in 1957. Every American President since has commissioned Boehm for gifts to visiting dignitaries.
In 1959, His Late Holiness Pope John XXIII was presented with several pieces for the Vatican Museum, including the sculpture "Cerulean Warblers with Wild Roses."
Boehem presentations also had been made to Popes Pius XII and John Paul I and more recently, in June 1992, to his Holiness Pope John Paul II.
The attention received in the US by Boehm of Trenton was paralleled by Boehm of Malver, England. Special gifts were designed for all members of the immediate Royal Family.
Through the 1970's, Boehm expanded at a measured pace, always placing qualitative considerations ahead of quantitative. Honored Presidential commissions continued to come.
In May and June of 1987, the Boehms traveled to the former USSR for a Boehm exhibition in Moscow. It was a showing of 48 important sculptures.
The name Boehm was accorded its highest honor in its 46-year existence. On June 19, 1992, a wing of the Vatican Museums in Rome, the Gregorian Etruscan Museum, was named in memory of Edward Marshall Boehm. This is the first time in its 500 year history that a part of the Vatican was named for an American, and for a person not of royalty, the church or a church family.
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