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Viola Frey

American
(1933–2004)

Urn
1974

Porcelain
10.25 x 11 x 10.5 in.
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation
1984.1463

Viola Frey presented Nora “Noni” Eccles Treadwell with Urn during the opening of the Noni Eccles Treadwell Ceramic Art Center on the California College of the Art’s (CCAC) Oakland Campus in 1974. Nora—a CCAC alumni and benefactor—received this dedication pot for her seminal role in the building of the center. This large porcelain vessel, with its delicate folds encircling the foot and rim, features an intimate panoramic scene of the new CCAC pot shop. Warm yellow light streams through large background windows highlighting the faces of people in the space. The sketchy outlining of Urn’s ornate surface sensitively captures individualized portraits—surely of instructors and students close to Nora, including Frey—which reflect the casual and convivial atmosphere of the studio.

Frey was born on a vineyard in Lodi, California in 1933. At CCAC, she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting before pursuing an Master of Fine Arts 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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