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Antonio Prieto



7.25 x 4.75 x 3.25 in.
Gift of Nora Eccles Harrison

Though ‘Tony’ Prieto frequently favored abstract, modern surface designs on elegantly thrown forms, this sophisticated slender pitcher relies on classic form and subtle earthy glaze. The short neck, pouring lip and collar demonstrates robust evidence of Spanish forms seen under Picasso’s pottery drawings. Picasso was among the artists Prieto visited during many trips to Spain and you can see this influence in this piece, with it’s short neck, pouring lips, and collar. Prieto’s Spanish heritage drew him to both contemporary and folk potters there.

Prieto was one of the most respected teaching potters of the craftsman years. He immigrated to the United States as a child in 1916. At age 14 he started working in a cigarette factory where he continued for seventeen years. He enrolled in ceramic classes in San Francisco before serving in the Army during WWII. When the war ended, Alfred University, New York (known for its ceramic program), accepted him without formal training in ceramics. In 1948, after two years at Alfred, Prieto accepted a teaching position at California College of Arts and Crafts (now California College of Arts), replacing Marguerite Wildenhain. In 1950, he succeeded Carlton Ball as head of the ceramics program at Mills College in Oakland where he taught until his death in 1967.

Prieto was keenly interested in the work of many artists and sought out the widest range of opportunity for interaction with personal travel and workshops at Mills College. In the early 1950s, he attracted graduate students such as Robert Arneson to Mills, and offered workshops around the country.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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