Ralph Bacerra was a superb ceramist, yet always a student of art history. It’s no wonder that, in the last two years of life, he produced a couple of the most stunning large vessels I’ve ever seen. In many ways, Bacerra integrated his physical and technical abilities—this is a thrown bowl, perfectly glazed with turquoise over black. The piece also recalls the modernity of Victor Schreckengost’s Jazz Bowl from 1931. This reminds me that, for any ceramics collector, a good book to read is 20th Century Ceramics, by Edmund de Waal.
Bacerra’s turquoise bowls are spectacular in scale and color. One is in our current show. Another, from 2006, has just been acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is a gift from one of our collectors, Frederick McBrien III. An exhibit including many works from Fred’s collection of Japanese ceramics has just opened at the Philadelphia Museum.