George E. Ohr, ‘Bowl’, ca. 1893-1909, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum

Link to the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum object page

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About George E. Ohr

Ceramicist George Ohr was born to German immigrants in Biloxi, Mississippi in 1857, where he was trained by his father in blacksmithing. It wasn’t until 1879 when Ohr was invited to New Orleans, Louisiana to study traditional pottery techniques with his childhood friend Joseph Meyer, that his time working with ceramics began. Ohr embraced the “folk” pottery aesthetics and processes of the time, but eventually created works that were entirely original in form and production. Every Ohr piece clearly embodies his technical prowess, with the the thinness and tight control that he is renowned for, even as he took perfectly thrown vessels and folded and pinched them into what has become known as his signature style. Ohr’s relatively short career as a ceramicist ended around 1908, at which point he stored thousands of his unsold works in the attic of his former studio. Not until 1969 when an antique dealer discovered the trove of Ohr pieces did his work start to become known on a broad scale, posthumously launching his career and drawing more attention to turn of the century American art and design history.

American, 1857-1918, Biloxi, Mississippi, based in Biloxi, Mississippi