Rudy Autio

(American, born 1926, died 2007)

Rudy Autio (1926-2007) was one of the most influential and innovative ceramic sculptors of his generation. He is best known for large and irregularly shaped ceramic vessels painted with themes from ancient Greek mythology as well as lots of horses.

Autio was born in Butte, Montana in 1926, to immigrant parents from Finland. In 1944, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He attended Aviation Machinists School and was assigned to repair crews in Alameda, California, and Fallon, Nevada. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in applied art from Montana State University in Bozeman and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington State University in Pullman, Eastern Washington. In 1952, Autio was a founding resident artist at the Archie Bray Ceramics Foundation in Helena, Montana. He served as professor of ceramics and sculpture at the University of Montana in Missoula for twenty-eight years, and he started its ceramics department in 1957. Autio’s art is found in collections and museums around the world. He was the first recipient of the Montana Governor's Award in 1981 and was awarded the American Craft Council’s Gold Medal in 1999.