Otto Lindig

Otto Lindig was born on 4 November 1895 in Pössneck in Thuringia. From 1909 to 1911, he attended the College of Drawing and Carving in Lichte, which provided young people with training for work in Thuringia’s porcelain factories. He then started on an apprenticeship as a sculptor with Max Bechstein in Ilmenau. This was followed in 1913 by a course in the Ceramics Department in Henry van de Velde’s College of Applied Art of the Grand Duchy of Saxony, in Weimar. Lindig then studied until 1918 in Richard Engelmann’s sculpture class at the College of Fine Arts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony in Weimar. He thus received some of his training at the two institutions that were combined in 1919 to form the Weimar State Bauhaus. He completed his diploma in sculpture in 1917 and set up his own studio. From 1919 on, he worked as a sculptor in a masters’ studio at the Weimar Bauhaus, and in November 1920 became an apprentice at the Bauhaus ceramics workshop in Dornburg. At that time, it had already been equipped by Gerhard Marcks and the first Bauhaus students. “I moved to Dornburg in autumn 1920 and decided to change subjects and take a pottery apprenticeship. It was Marcks’s encouragement that decided me in favor of moving, as he wanted to have me there, and I switched to pottery because I had long since realized that I didn’t have what it takes to become a really great sculptor.”[1] Before this, Lindig had also met his later wife, Erna, who brought three children from an earlier marriage into their relationship. Hans-Peter Jakobson[2] therefore believed there were economic reasons that speeded up Lindig’s decision in favour of more lucrative work in the pottery in Dornburg. Along with his brother-in-law, Theodor Bogler, Lindig “soon became the leading figure among the apprentices and journeymen” and “more and more clearly shaped the character of Bauhaus ceramics through his works”.[3] In 1924, he took over the technical management of the workshop, and shortly afterwards its commercial management as well. He held this position until the closure of the Bauhaus in Weimar on 31 March 1925. After a period of uncertainty, the workshop was taken over by the Weimar College of Crafts and Architecture and Lindig was appointed sole director of the Ceramics Workshop in Dornburg, although he only completed his diploma as master craftsman in 1926.

When the College of Architecture in Weimar also had to close in 1930, Lindig continued to run the Dornburg workshop as leaseholder. In 1947, he accepted an appointment by his former teacher, Gerhard Marcks, to a teaching post as head of the ceramics master class at the State College of Art in Hamburg (the later Academy of Fine Arts), where he remained until his retirement in 1961. Otto Lindig died in Wiesbaden on 4 June 1966.

[1] Otto Lindig, cited in Hans-Peter Jakobson,Otto Lindig – der Töpfer, p. 9.
[2] Ibid.
[3] Hans-Peter Jakobson, “Otto Lindig. ‘Im Grunde ist das Töpfermachen ja immer die gleiche Sache …’”, in Klaus Weber, ed.,Keramik und Bauhaus. Geschichte und Wirkungen der keramischen Werkstatt des Bauhauses (Berlin, 1989), p. 45.

References:
Freigang, Christine & Ulf Häder (2009): Otto Lindig. Die Dornburger Zeit, Bürgel; Jakobson, Hans-Peter (1990): Otto Lindig – der Töpfer. 1895 – 1966. Gera; Weber, Klaus (1989): Keramik und Bauhaus. Geschichte und Wirkungen der keramischen Werkstatt des Bauhauses, Berlin.