Tuesday, October 07, 2008

So- Who Was He?

The gentleman in question was George E. Ohr (1857-1918), the self-proclaimed "Greatest Art Potter on Earth", also known as "The Mad Potter of Biloxi, Mississippi". Ohr was certainly very talented, and not at all mad, though he was quite annoyed that he never received the acclaim he felt he deserved in his own lifetime.

His pots were ahead of their time, and not at all in keeping with the art pottery fashion of the day. Critics even accused him of "torturing" his clay...

In 1905 Ohr was invited to send four pieces of his work to be exhibited at the annual United states Potters Association convention. He sent the pieces, along with a note stating-

"I send you four pieces, but it is as easy to pass judgment on my productions from four pieces as it would be to take four lines from Shakespeare and guess the rest".

Ohr was also an amateur photographer, and delighted in creating improbable scenes featuring himself-

Potting at the Ohr pottery was a family affair-

Ohr's pottery never sold widely, and his work was largely forgotten after his death, but in 1972 a cache of more than 6,000 pots was discovered, forgotten and covered with dust, in a family warehouse. It was eventually purchased en bloc by an art pottery dealer, who took 3 months to unpack it, and then put it on the market gradually over a period of years, and so Ohr pottery is widely appreciated and avidly collected today.

It's too bad "The Greatest Potter in the World" never got to see that.

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