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Russel Wright's 1937 American Modern tablewares reissued by L.A.-based Bauer Pottery

March 4, 2010 |  7:11 am

Long before designers such as Philippe Starck and Jonathan Adler came along, Russel Wright (1904-1976) became a household name by creating mass-produced dinnerware, furniture, appliances and textiles and writing the 1950 bestseller, "Guide to Easier Living," a bible of modern home decoration.

One of Wright's great successes was the American Modern tabletop collection, which sold more than 250 million pieces over 20 years and remains a must-have for modernist fans. Now, Los Angeles-based Bauer Pottery, which still produces its own midcentury classics, has licensed and reissued the collection in white and four carefully replicated Wright colors. 

The shapes are so elegant and iconic that the 80-ounce pitcher, above, was chosen to grace a recent cover of the Sundance Catalog, where it costs $90. (With vintage Wright pieces fetching even more on EBay, that's a solid investment.) More American Modern reissues after the jump.

WrightIn addition to the pitcher, Bauer makes dishes, bowls, coffee and tea services, and serving pieces. The Double Lug, right, is a particularly great bowl: The 12-ounce container has two handles that make slurping the last bit of soup almost acceptable. 

DSC_4815Later this year, the pottery company also plans to introduce more American Modern pieces in Bauer's signature primary colors, right. Check the company's website for the complete collection, including the pitcher, currently priced at $75.

Local bargain hunters can save more by picking up factory seconds (undamaged pieces with barely noticeable imperfections such as uneven glaze) at Bauer's almost-every-month showroom sales, including one this Saturday and Sunday. For sale hours and location, click here.

-- David A. Keeps

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Photo (top) credit: Sundance Catalog

Photo (center and bottom) credit: Bauer Pottery