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Larry Elsner



18 x 14 x 7.5 in.
Museum Purchase with the Charter Member Endowment Fund

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. The striped Bottle is an example of Elsner’s breathtaking artistry before his unexpected death in 1990. “As a sculptor, my concern is for form,” he wrote in 1977, “a maddening search for the unity of space and mass.” He would always choose form over function, whether he was working in bronze, clay, metal, stone, plaster, or wood.

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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