Jens Plum – painter

Jens Plum (1926 – 2002 ) was born in Rochester, NY. He studied at Art School, Copenhagen, Denmark (1947-1949), at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI  (1952-1954; B.F.A.), and Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI (1954-1956; MFA). He taught at the University of Detroit (1956-1963) and the Department of Arts, Michigan State University (1963-1991).

At  Wayne State University, Plum met Robert Wilbert, a major figure of Detroit’s creative art community. Milton Avery was another source of inspiration since, in the Fifties,  Avery’s paintings were sold at the Donald Morris Gallery in Detroit. In Florida, Plum took a workshop with Janet Fish. Traveling internationally with his wife, Plum visited the  Giorgio Morandi museum in Bologna Italy. Like Morandi, Plum had a number of artifacts that he rearranged for his still lifes.

Plums had numerous national and regional exhibitions and One-Person-Shows. His paintings are part of permanent collections, for example, at Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids, MI and Wayne State University, Detroit, MI;


Together with his wife, Nancy Plum, Jens made a treasured contribution to the vibrant Lansing area art community.

The first and third picture shown here were captured by me with Nancy Plum’s permission in her late husband’s studio. The second picture came from a photo collection of Jens Plum’s paintings that Nancy made available to me.

Nancy Plum, ceramicist

Nancy Plum said: “I am  a studio potter who works in stoneware and porcelain. Making pots is a way of life for me, as I attempt to capture a spirit that lies beyond their function.”

Nancy Manes Plum (1932-2019) grew up in Providence, RI, and went to Antioch College, OH.  During a summer workshop at the Black Mountain College, NC (1953),  Peter Voulkos, Warren MacKenzie  and Daniel Rhodes  introduced her to ceramics which proved to be  formative to her career choice.

Until 1956, Plum studied ceramics at Cranbrook Academy of Art, MI with  Marguerite Wildenhain and Takakazu Takeuchi. In 1957, she spent a year at Mills College, CA on a teaching fellowship with Tony Prieto as her mentor.

The same year, she was awarded Fulbright fellowship which she declined and instead joined the faculty at the New Mexico Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM to teach ceramics and weaving.

In 1960, Plum went back to Michigan to join her husband, the painter Jens Plum, professor at Michigan State University. Nancy Plum  taught at pottery guilds, first in Ann Arbor and then in Lansing.

Nancy Plums’s  ceramics are part of permanent collections, for example,  at the Detroit Institute of Arts, MI; Mills College Gallery, Oakland, CA; Witte Museum, San Antonio, TX; St. Paul Gallery , St. Paul, MN. Plum had both One-Person  as well as Regional and National Exhibitions.

Nancy’s ceramics shown here are part of my own collection.

Nancy was a member of the vibrant artist community surrounding her. With her knowledge of the visual arts – ceramics, sculpture and painting – Nancy  had been a mentor to me.

Epitaph by Mark Chatterley:  I considered Nancy the treasure for the community. She was an elegant lady who transferred her personality into clay.

oil painting