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Rupert Deese


Hemisphere Drum Bowl

6.125 x 11.75 x 11.75 in. (15.558 x 29.845 x 29.845 cm)
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Rupert Deese’s Hemisphere Drum Bowl is an anomalous work from a prolific maker of functional pottery. The large stoneware vessel has a low, wide, drum-like form that has been enclosed by a shallow, slightly concave, draped slab at the rim. The sides of the form have been ribbed or marked with a fine toothed comb-like tool that provides a subtle texture emanating though the dark glaze. In stark contrast, the top has been glazed an off-white hue with three small green decorative dots in the center.

Deese was born in Guam, where his father was stationed as a Marine Corps officer, and raised in California where, upon graduation in 1942, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps as a B-17 mechanic. After World War II ended, Deese returned to school and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Pomona College in 1950 as well as a Master’s degree in 1957. He started teaching ceramics at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California where he remained until his retirement in 1971. Deese maintained a thriving studio practice outside of academia and also worked as a designer for various institutions including Franciscan Ceramics in Los Angeles. Of his work, Deese wrote, “it is my hope in making these vessels that as the perception of their beauty diminishes over time, they will sustain themselves by pleasant usefulness.”

Ayla Murray

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