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Viola Frey


circa late 1950's

3.5 x 16.5 x 16.5 in.
Gift of Richard A. Harrison

In the postwar period, studio pottery represented a well-made and local alternative to mass-produced wares. Handmade vessels, such as Bowl, were largely valued for the pleasure derived from using them. With the publication of Bernard Leach’s, A Potter’s Book in 1940, the English potter inspired a new generation of high-fire studio potters in the United States. Bowl is an early work by Viola Frey that exemplifies Leach’s combination of English and Japanese sensibilities through its elegant shape and asymmetrical surface design. Decorating the inside of the vessel are two red apples and a celadon pear that represent the humble fare and modest comforts of daily life.

Frey was born on a vineyard in Lodi, California in 1933. At CCAC, she earned her B.F.A. in painting before pursuing an M.F.A. at Tulane University in 1955. After a sojourn in New York, Frey returned to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1960 to continue her exploration of the human figure. At CCAC, she eventually rose to the rank of Associate Professor in 1972 and was an influential member of the college’s faculty until her retirement in 1999.

Sara Morris

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