Important 20th Century Design /04 December 2005

323

Peter Voulkos

stack pot
USA, 1967
wheel-thrown earthenware with slip welds
10¾ w × 11 d × 27¾ h in (27 × 28 × 70 cm)

Created while Voulkos was a guest artist at a small college in 1967, this vase was built during an educational demonstration workshop. The form is a spontaneous composition that illustrates the possibilities of the ceramic material. Lot includes a comical note from Voulkos to David Crespi, the original owner, asking for payment for his time at the college.

provenance: David Crespi, ConnecticutPrivate collection

estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $48,000

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Peter Voulkos 1924–2002

Few artists can revolutionize an ancient medium, but Peter Voulkos did just that when he brought ceramics into the realm of fine art starting in the late 1950s. Born in Bozeman, Montana in 1924, he studied painting and ceramics at Montana State University and later received his MFA from California College of the Arts in Oakland. While Voulkos began his career by creating utilitarian objects such as bowls and vases that won him wide renown, he began to contemplate abstraction and other fine art principles when he spent the summer of 1953 teaching at Black Mountain College, there he met Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, and Josef Albers. From there, he visited New York, meeting many of the Abstract Expressionists.

Voulkos returned to California to teach at Los Angeles County Art Institute (now Otis College of Art and Design) from 1954 to 1959 and it was in this period that his works really began to evolve. As the decade came to a close, Voulkos moved away from creating functional items, instead morphing vase-like structures into sculpture. He slashed the clay in certain instances and aggressively applied paint to the forms like canvas. No longer content to create works that hid their process of creation, Voulkos made the very act of creation paramount to the understanding and appreciation of his work, much like the Abstract Expressionists that he had associated with.

Auction Results Peter Voulkos

Peter Voulkos

untitled
estimate: $100,000–150,000
result: $102,000

Peter Voulkos

Stack Pot
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $68,500

Peter Voulkos

monumental Stack Pot
estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $62,500

Peter Voulkos

stack pot
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $48,000

Peter Voulkos

Stack pot
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $40,000

Peter Voulkos

tall vessel
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $39,600

Peter Voulkos

untitled
estimate: $40,000–50,000
result: $36,000

Peter Voulkos

vessel
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $25,200

Peter Voulkos

monumental Stack Pot
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $21,250

Peter Voulkos

vessel
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $15,000

Peter Voulkos

untitled (Plate)
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $12,000

Peter Voulkos

charger
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $11,400

Peter Voulkos

Untitled Plate
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $10,000

Peter Voulkos

bulbous vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $9,600

Peter Voulkos

plate
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,625

Peter Voulkos

untitled (Plate)
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $8,400

Peter Voulkos 1924-2002

untitled (X-plate)
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $8,125

Peter Voulkos

untitled
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $6,875

Peter Voulkos

bowl
estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $6,000

Peter Voulkos

vase
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $5,625

Peter Voulkos

lidded vessel
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $5,625

Peter Voulkos

vessel
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $5,625

Peter Voulkos

bowl
estimate: $4,000–6,000
result: $5,000

Peter Voulkos

low vessel form
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $4,800

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