Rudy Autio (October 8, 1926 – June 20, 2007) was a sculptor known for his large scale ceramic vessels which often depicted nude figures and other figurative illustrations.
Born in Butte, MT, Autio attended Montana State College where he studied under Frances Senska, befriended Peter Voulkos, and received his B.S. in Applied Art in 1950. While attending Washington State University, Autio, along with Voulkos were invited by Archie Bray to work at his Western Clay Company. Bray eventually established the Archie Bray Foundation, making Autio and Voulkos the founding resident artists. After Autio graduated with his M.F.A in Sculpture, he worked at the foundation full time. By 1957, he left to teach ceramics and sculpture at the University of Montana until his retirement in 1985.
Inspired by the work of Voulkos, some of Autio’s earliest works consisted of abstract expressionist pots, but he would also create stained glass windows, bronzes, tile murals, metal works, and tapestries. He is best known for his large ceramic vessels wrapped in figurative illustrations inspired by Matisse and DeKooning, and colored with rich hued glazes.
Autio is member of the American Crafts Council and received several awards, including the Tiffany Award in Crafts (1963), the American Ceramic Society Art Award (1978), the Governors Award in the State of Montana (1981), the American Craftsman’s Gold Medal Award (1999) and the James Renwick Alliance’s “Master of the Medium” for clay (2007). His work is included in the collections of the American Craft Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, and many more.