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About the Exhibition

An exhibition of approximately 150 midcentury ceramics created by Frans Wildenhain was on display from 20 August to 2 October 2012 simultaneously in the Bevier Gallery and the Dyer Arts Center.

In August, 2010 RIT was the beneficiary of a substantial gift of Frans Wildenhain art pottery collected beginning in 1955 by Robert Bradley Johnson.

While working at Eastman Kodak as an optical engineer, "I was bitten by the collector's disease; I couldn't stop buying Wildenhain's pots,” Johnson says. And Wildenhain once remarked to Johnson: "You helped pay for the roof of my house.”

"Perfection is dull and what I treasured about Wildenhain's pottery were the irregularities—how his fingers could mold clay into something that lives and breathes life,” Johnson states. "I never got tired of looking at them, and to me that was a priceless gift.”

The Frans Wildenhain ceramics exhibition marks the first time for cross-gallery collaboration between RIT's two most prominent art galleries. The accompanying exhibition catalogue offers color photographs of the art pottery and ceramic sculpture on display, archival images of RIT's ceramics program and its personalities, and the catalogue's text reveals the Institute's creative, innovative, scholarly and curricular interests in ceramics and crafts as well as discussing commercial dimensions of the crafts marketplace in Rochester, NY.

Organized by Bruce Austin, the Frans Wildenhain exhibit is a thematic extension of his 1991 Bevier Gallery exhibit: The Arts & Crafts Movement in Western New York, 1900-1920. That exhibit, and its catalogue, focused on the Arts and Crafts Movement of the early 20th century and RIT's educational and artistic contributions. The 1991 Arts and Crafts exhibit featured approximately 40 examples of ceramicist Frederick Walrath's work (1908-1918). The Frans Wildenhain exhibit moves the focus of attention forward a half-century.