George Ohr

Unique, iconoclastic, modern

The pottery of George E. Ohr, at Biloxi, Miss. is, in some respects, one of the most interesting in the United States. In a single small kiln, without assistance in the manifold labors incident to the preparation of the clay, the throwing of the pieces, the glazing and firing, Mr. Ohr has developed an original ware which has attracted the attention of the world of art. It is made of the ordinary tough clay found in the vicinity, and burned at a low temperature. The extreme thinness of the pieces and the great variety of forms are their special characteristics. While in a plastic state they are twisted, crushed, folded, dented, and crinkled into odd, grotesque, and occasionally graceful shapes, but the principal beauty of the ware lies in the richness of some of the glazes, which present great variety in coloring. Being made, for the most part, entirely by hand, no two pieces are precisely alike. They range in size from the tiny toy vase to pieces as tall as a man. Mr. Ohr has been potting for nearly twenty years and all of his methods and processes are original. Singularly enough, he claims more merit for his shapes than for any other feature, yet by far the most pleasing and artistic are those which are the simplest in outline and the least eccentric in treatment.

Among the modelled designs in Biloxi pottery that we have seen are crabs, sea-shells, the head of a wild-cat, and pieces with handles in the semblance of lizards, serpents, and dragons, while some of the more elaborately decorated cups and vases bear more or less appropriate inscriptions, original or quoted.

Source: The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States: An Historical Review of American Ceramic Art form the Earliest Times to the Present Day by Edwin Atlee Barber, A.M., Ph.D. 1901.

Links

  • Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, MS
  • Craft in America Exhibition
  • Books

    The Mad Potter of Biloxi: The Art and Life of George E. Ohr
    George Ohr, Art Potter: The Apostle of Individuality
    After the Fire George Ohr: An American Genius





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