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Antonio Prieto


circa 1960

12 x 7 x 7 in.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Willard L. Eccles

Antonio Prieto was one of the most respected teaching potters of the 1960s. He was particularly known for his clean modernist vases, sparingly incised with dancing linework and much in keeping with the midcentury influence of Picasso. The golden, narrow-necked Bottle is an iconic example of the Prieto oeuvre. His heritage drew him to both contemporary Spanish ceramists and the folk potters of Spain, who continued age-old traditions. He said, “I prefer the kind of freshness, spontaneity, and control that comes with knowledge and understanding.”

Prieto immigrated to the United States as a child in 1916. He enrolled in a fine arts school in San Francisco before serving in the Army during World War Two. When the war ended, he was accepted by Alfred University (known for their ceramics program) in Alfred, New York, though he had no formal training in ceramics. After two years at Alfred, Prieto accepted a position at California College of Arts and Crafts (now CCA), replacing Marguerite Wildenhain. In 1950, he followed Carlton Ball as head of the ceramics program at Mills College in Oakland. Prieto successfully linked the formal traditions of Alfred with the explosion of self-expression in clay that followed World War Two, teaching at Mills until his death in 1967.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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