Eva and Milan Lapka – le potier et le sculpteur

Eva and Milan Lapka - elephant vase - detail

Eva and Milan Lapka – elephant vase – detail

While it may be hard to find some of Eva and Milan Lapka’s work outside of Quebec, it is doubly hard to come across images of their shared pottery.  Over her long career Eva Lapka has become known and respected as a sculptor but it is pottery where she and Milan  started out.

Eva (1944 -  ) and Milan (1942 - 1998) Lapka - elephant vase ca. 1975

Eva (1944 – ) and Milan (1942 – 1998) Lapka – elephant vase ca. 1975

This is my find of the week — a beautifully constructed elephant form vase. Not a pitcher, though you would think the various elements might make it work as some sort of pouring vessel, but it is a sculpture of sorts or perhaps a pot of sorts. Not quite leaving wheel throwing for assemblage nor glazing for patina but somewhere along that line towards independence from traditional potting.

The piece is probably from the mid 1970s during the early part of their career having arrived in Montreal from Czechoslovakia in 1968 after the Prague Spring. Milan was apparently responsible for forms and Eva for glazing.

Eva (1944 -  ) and Milan (1942 - 1998) Lapka - elephant vase - base detail

Eva (1944 – ) and Milan (1942 – 1998) Lapka – elephant vase – base detail

For images of their pottery you are going to have look into Quebec primary sources. There is very little on the web and little apparently in public collections. An excellent source book for Quebec studio work is Regard sur la Ceramique Quebecoise, ed. Jacques Blais and others, 2014 put out by Association des collectionneurs de ceramique du Quebec.



  1. domazar@sympatico.ca · · Reply

    Just to let you know how much I enjoy your informative and well-written posts. I collect Canadian pottery (among other things) and am always trying to add to my knowledge base. I haunt yard sales, thrift stores, church bazaars, etc., and from time to time have been rewarded with some wonderful — and sometimes rare — examples of creative expression made right here in the Great White North. On the flip side, I’ve also amassed a lot of stuff that has little esthetic or material value. It’s been a fascinating learning curve. One of my best finds so far are 2 mahogany boards with vertically-mounted ceramic tiles (4 tiles to a board measuring a total of about 3′ in height. The tiles depict a Picasso-like mythical creature and are very modernist in appearance. The bottom tile on each board is signed K. Sadowska. I’ll be on the lookout now for works by the Lapkas. Ulana R. Domazar Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2015 22:38:48 +0000 To: domazar@sympatico.ca

    1. Thank you for the kind comments. The Sadowska-Sadowski you mention were also a post-war immigrant couple (Konrad and Krystyna). In their case to Nova Scotia and Ontario. To some extent their pottery was also overshadowed by Krystyna’s subsequent career as a revered sculptor. Good eye and good find on your part!

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