Power Couple in Porcelain
The work of their family can be found in the White House and in the homes of world leaders across the globe. Edward Boehm was the artist and creative who created the beautiful works we see today while Helen, Given the nickname the “Princess of Porcelain,” was the quick thinking and marketing genius that allowed their products to become standard offerings from the United States Presidents to foreign dignitaries.
Its sensitively executed sculptures of flowers, birds, and animals were the first recognized hard-paste porcelain to be U.S.-made, thanks to the ingenuity of her husband, brilliant sculptor Edward Boehm, updating a clay-making method pioneered by the Chinese in the seventh century.
Helen married Ed Boehm in 1944 when he was a veterinary assistant who raised livestock and sculpted animals in clay off-hours. He had a love and knowledge of animals that he was able to transfer over to his sculpting. His wife was convinced of his talents and worked tirelessly to get the word out. While selling dental equipment in Manhattan, she spent her lunch breaks showing her husband’s work to the city’s retailers. She encouraged him to tackle sculpture full-time, and his success became her mission. Clearly, he was a superb craftsman, but Boehm porcelain became and stayed prestigious largely because of its endless promotion by the artist’s wife.
The family’s first true success would come in 1951 when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York purchased two pieces to be featured in its “American Wing.” From here on out Mrs. Boehm would take on all aspects of marketing for their business. She continued to sell statues to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and even managed to procure an invitation to the White House where she offered a porcelain bull to Mamie Eisenhower.
On January 29th, 1969 at the age of 55, Mr. Boehm passed away from a heart attack leaving Mrs. Boehm to take over the operation of the company. She continued to maintain the “Edward Marshall Boehm” logo and later that year oversaw the creation of The Bird of Peace, which was given as a gift to China during President Nixon’s visit in 1972.
Statues created following the passing of Mr. Boehm were owned by people like Mikhail Gorbachev, Queen Elizabeth II, and Pope John Paul II. In 1985 Mrs. Boehm published her autobiography titled “With a Little Luck: An American Odyssey,” and in November of 2010, she would, unfortunately, pass away from Parkinson’s disease at the age of 89.
The legacy of the Boehm Family still lives on to this day, as their many statues are still available for your viewing & browsing pleasure.
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