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Larry Elsner


Male and Female
circa 1950

10.375 x 9.75 x 4.25 in.
Gift of Gertrude Shurr and Rachael Dunaven Yocom

The range of Larry Elsner’s work is illustrated here with pieces covering the length of his career. His early work displays his experiments with throwing, sculpting, and firing. Male and Female was completed at Utah State University in his second year on the faculty. This handbuilt work was probably conceived through sketches, as incessant sketching was the way in which he continually refined his ideas of form.

Larry Elsner was born on a ranch in southern Idaho, which inspired his work, as seen in his many animal pieces, particularly horses and cats. He attended the University of Idaho for two years on an athletic scholarship, while taking art classes. After two years in the navy, he went on to graduate from Utah State University in 1957, and received an MFA from Columbia University in 1958. He traveled often to Japan, the first time in 1969 with his wife and daughter. Since then, a Japanese aesthetic permeated all of his work. In Japan he was inspired to stone-scrape his work after seeing this treatment used on wood-fired pots. He taught a variety of art classes at Utah State University over a thirty-year period.

Billie Sessions, PhD.

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