An indefatigable spokesperson for the field, Edward Winter played a critical role in the development of enameling in this country in the first half of the twentieth century. Through his writings and lectures, as well as through his own fine work, Winter helped popularize enameling and increase public awareness of its artistic potential.
Born in Pasadena, California and raised in Ohio, Winter studied at the Cleveland School of Art, graduating in 1931. In his final year, one of his teachers – Julius Mihalik, a design instructor and former head of the Royal Hungarian School of Industrial Art in Budapest – encouraged Winter to travel to Vienna to continue his studies in design. Following his teacher’s advice, Winter studied enameling and metalwork with the prominent designer Josef Hoffmann and ceramics with the acclaimed ceramist and designer Michael Polowny. During this year, Winter studied several areas of design but began to focus increasingly on enameling. Winter’s studies in Vienna – where he was exposed to the latest innovations in European painting, sculpture, and design – changed the course of his career and solidified his commitment to enameling and to a modernist aesthetic.
Upon his return to Cleveland in 1932, Winter met Robert A. Weaver, chairman of the Ferro Enamel Corporation, a Cleveland-based manufacturer of enamel components for use in domestic, industrial, and architectural settings. Through his association with Weaver, Winter was allowed access to Ferro’s industrial kilns, typically used for enamel refrigerators, ovens, and large-scale architectural supplies. Using these kilns, he began to fire his own compositions and produce two- and three-dimensional work at an increasingly large scale. Though his work at Ferro, Winter radically transformed enameling, taking a medium traditionally associated with diminutive scale and intimate format to unprecedented levels of size and grandeur.
Through the course of his almost forty-five year career, Edward Winter dramatically advanced enameling in this country through a combination of teaching, writing, and most important, through his own extraordinary work.