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Antonio Prieto



3 x 10.5 x 10.5 in.
Gift of Richard A. Harrison

The focus of this wide, shallow Bowl is a charming line drawing of a peacock. But instead of the brazen, upright tail typical of peacocks, Antonio Prieto has drawn one with tail feathers sketched in a sprightly attitude resembling animal drawings in the European folk tradition. Prieto frequently drew whimsical birds in his work; clearly, he had exceptional brush skills. “To me, good pottery,” he once wrote, “besides expressing the character and personality of the creator, expresses the character and potentialities of the materials. I do not think you can separate them and have sound work.”

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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