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Pottery Pitcher by American Potter Warren McKenzie

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Directory: Artists: Ceramics: Pottery: Jars: Pre 2000: Item # 944040

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A simple pitcher, the rough clay covered in pale speckled glaze with finger drag marks on both sides by American artist Warren McKenzie purchased at an exhibition held in Tokyo in 1995 (photocopies of catalog accompany the sale). The jug is 8-1/2 inches (22 cm) tall and comfortably holds one to one and a half liters. Despite its heavy potting, the tapered sides and flaring handle make it seem light, and the clay is not weighty. Warren McKenzie is one of American Pottery’s most influential figures. A proponent of the Mingei ideal of utilitarian design and function, he studied directly under Bernard Leach, the father of modern Studio pottery. Through this figure he came under the influence of Soetsu Yanagi and Hamada Shoji, leaders of the Mingei Philosophy in Japan whom he met in America at the age of 28. His traditional wheel thrown stoneware pots are simply glazed and reduction fired, following the Japanese style, and yet belie a cunning and spirit far beyond their seeming haphazard decoration. McKenzie taught at the University of Minnesota from 1952, and works from his studio in Stillwater Minnesota. He is considered one of the most important figures of our century in the pottery world. He fathered many important pupils who have carried on in his shadow, and is a prize to have in any collection.