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Annette Corcoran

American, b. 1930

Japanese Crane

9 x 10 x 6.5 in. (22.86 x 25.4 x 16.51 cm)
Gift of the Nora Eccles Treadwell Foundation

Annette Corcoran’s handbuilt porcelain sculptures, inspired by Japanese ceramics and the work of James Audubon, capture the postures and spirit of birds, even when they are constrained by serving as teapots. She begins each series of five to seven teapots with careful drawings of a particular bird species. Then large paintings are created and numbered to serve as glazing guides when she applies the surface designs. A piece can involve underglaze, overglaze, and airbrushing to create a chiaroscuro effect. Although originally functional, Corcoran’s teapots evolved into nonfunctional works of art, as is likely with Japanese Crane, since the handle and the fill hole look rather undersized to accomplish the process of safe pouring.

Corcoran graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1952 with a BA in anthropology and decorative arts. She worked as a graphic artist for fifteen years before turning to ceramics. She received further training in art and ceramics at Long Beach State University, Cal Poly Pomona, Saddleback College, and College of Marin—all in California. Among the public collections holding work by Corcoran are the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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