Peter Voulkos

Peter Voulkos

Infobox Artist
name = Peter Voulkos

imagesize =
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birthname = Panagiotis Voulkos
birthdate = Birth date|1924|1|29
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deathdate = Death date and age|2002|2|16|1924|1|29
deathplace =
nationality =
field =
training =
movement = Abstract Expressionist
works =
patrons =
influenced by =
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awards =

Peter Voulkos (January 29 1924 – 2002) popular name of Panagiotis Voulkos, was an American artist of Greek descent. He is known for his Abstract Expressionist ceramic sculptures, which bounded the traditional divide between ceramic crafts and fine art.

Born as Panagiotis Harry Voulkopoulos, the third of five children to Greek immigrant parents Aristovoulos I. Voulkopoulos, anglicized and shortened to Harry (Aris) John Voulkos and Effrosyni (Efrosine) Peter Voulalas, in Bozeman, Montana. He first studied painting and ceramics at Montana State University (then Montana State College) in Bozeman, then earned an MFA degree from the California College of the Arts. He began his career producing functional dinnerware in Bozeman, Montana. His talent was quickly recognized and he soon began winning prizes. In 1953, Voulkos was invited to teach a summer session ceramics course at Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1954, after founding the art ceramics department at the Otis College of Art and Design (then called the Los Angeles County Art Institute), his work rapidly became abstract and sculptural. He moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where he also founded the art ceramics department, and where he taught from 1959 until 1985. Among his students were many ceramic artists who became well known in their own right.

Voulkos' sculptures are famous for their visual weight, their freely-formed construction, and their aggressive and energetic decoration. He would vigorously tear, pound, and gouge the surfaces of his pieces. At some points in his career, he cast his sculptures in bronze; in other periods his ceramic works were glazed or painted, and he finished them with painted brushstrokes. He bought some of his metal from Sidney Levinson. In 1979 he was introduced to the use of wood kilns by Peter Callas; much of his late work is wood-fired. Peter Voulkos loved working with an audience. He died of an apparent heart attack in February 16, 2002 after conducting a college ceramics workshop at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, demonstrating his skill to live audience. He was 78.

Voulkos is survived by his first wife, Peggy, and their daughter, Pier; his wife, Ann, and their son, Aris (Aristovoulos after his grandfather); a brother, John, and two sisters, Mary and Margaret.

Voulkos' work is found in museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, in New York; Charles Cowles Gallery in New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, DC; the Stedelijk Museums in Amsterdam and Eindhoven; the Tokyo Folk Art Museum and the Kyoto National Museum of Modern Art in Japan; the National Gallery, in Melbourne, Australia; and the Victoria and Albert Museum, in London.

See also

* American craft
* Ceramics (art)
* Studio pottery
* Paul Soldner


Smith, Roberta. "Peter Voulkos, 78, A Master of Expressive Ceramics, Dies", New York Times, Feb. 21, 2002, p. B9. " [ Peter Voulkos Biography (1924–2002)] " (Retrieved 2006-10-30) (2006) " [ Peter Voulkos: Chronology] ", artnet Worldwide Corporation, New York, NY (Retrieved 2006-10-30)

Peter Seltz (June 2002) [ In Memoriam] , California Alumni Association, Berkeley (Retrieved 2006-10-30)

Scott Savitt (Feb. 2002) [ Obituary] , The "Berkeleyan" Online, UC Berkeley’s Office of Public Affairs, The Regents of the University of California (Retrieved 2006-10-30)

Further reading

* Rhodes, Daniel (1959) "Stoneware and Porcelain: The Art of High-Fired Pottery" Philadelphia: Chilton Book Company, Pennsylvania, 1959.

* Coplans, John (1966) "Abstract Expressionist Ceramics" (exhibition catalogue), University of California, Irvine, 1966.

* Read, Herbert (1964) "A Concise History of Modern Sculpture" New York: Oxford University Press, New York, 1964.

* Beard, Geoffrey (1969) "Modern Ceramics" London: Studio Vista, United Kingdom, 1969.

* Fischer, Hal (1978) "The Art of Peter Voulkos", "ARTFORUM", November 1978, pp. 41 - 47.

* Slivka, Rose (1978) "Peter Voulkos: A Dialogue with Clay" New York Graphic Society in association with American Crafts Council, New York 1978.

*San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1978) "Peter Voulkos: A Retrospective 1948-1978" San Francisco, California, 1978.

* Preaud, Tamara and Serge Gauthier (1982) "Ceramics of the 20th Century" New York:Rizzoli International, New York. 1982.

* MacNaughton, Mary et al. (1994) "Revolution in Clay: The Marer Collection of Contemporary Ceramics", Scripps College, Claremont, California, in association with The University of Washington, Seattle, 1994.

* Slivka, Rose and Karen Tsujimoto (1995) "The Art of Peter Voulkos", Kodansha International in collaboration with The Oakland Museum, Oakland, California, 1995.

* Danto, Arthur Coleman and Janet Koplos "Choice from America: Modern American Ceramics" Het Kruithuis, Museum of Contemporary Art. 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands, pp. 9-12, 16-9, 104-7, 133. 1999.

* "The American Art Book" London:Phaidon Press Limited, p. 467, 1999.

* Cooper, Emmanuel (2000) "Ten Thousand Years of Pottery", 4th ed., Philadelphia-Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.

* Faberman, Hilarie, et al (2004 )"Picasso to Thiebaud: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Collections of Stanford University Alumni and Friends", Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University. Palo Alto, California. 2004.

External links

* [ Voulkos & Co. web site]
* [ Peter Voulkos catalogue in artnet's "Artist Works Catalogues"]
* [ Frank Lloyd Gallery] web site with images of Voulkos artworks, resumé, etc.
* [ "In Memoriam" of Peter Voulkos] University of California, Berkeley.

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