Ohr, George Edgar

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Ohr, George Edgar

George Edgar Ohr, 1857–1918, American ceramist, often considered the first art potter in the United States, b. Biloxi, Miss. He apprenticed in New Orleans, traveled to potteries in 16 states to observe and learn, then returned to Biloxi. The self-styled "Mad Potter of Biloxi" cultivated an eccentric image and created eccentric and innovative ceramics, producing more than 10,000 pots during his career. Working on a wheel and then twisting, crumpling, squashing, and otherwise manipulating the clay he created thin-walled vases, pots, bowls, cups, pitchers, and other vessels in new, inventive, and often organic forms, frequently glazing them in a unique palette of vivid, sometimes splattered or mottled colors. Generally unappreciated during his life, Ohr's ceramics are now recognized as masterpieces and avidly collected. The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, contains an outstanding collection of his works.

See biographies by G. Clark et al. (1989), E. Hecht (2013), and J. Greenberg and S. Jordan (2013); studies by P. C. Black, ed. (1978), E. Hecht (1994), and E. J. Lippert (2013).

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