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Betty Woodman, Elizabeth Woodman

Biography to Display: 

1930 Born, Norwalk, Connecticut

EDUCATION

1948-1950 Alfred University, School for the American Craftsman, Alfred, New York

PRIMARY WORK EXPERIENCE

1950—Studio artist

1979 Faculty, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado 

1998 Professor Emeritus, Univeristy of Colorado, Boulder

 

Betty Woodman began her career in the 1950s as a production potter. Later, as a studio potter Woodman worked with many domestic forms including baskets, dinnerware, pillow forms, pitchers and vases. Woodman's pieces are typically made using white earthenware clay. She is known for her sculptures which are anchored by a vessel form: either one that pours or contains. Her work is often influenced by her memories of paintings, landscapes or architecture seen in her travels. Throughout her career, Woodman returned to the vase form, repeatedly deconstructing and reconstructing this form in her sculptures. The vase connects her work to art historical still life vase motifs and is the form that anchors her work in the vessel based realm of clay. Gradually her pieces became sculptural forms with colorful painterly surfaces. Often she made compositions of two or more objects that grew from the deconstruction of similar pieces, their parts interchanged with abstracted new sculptural objects resulting. A hallmark of Woodman’s work in various media is her love, understanding and inventive use of color.

In 1985 she began working with printer Bud Shark to produce monotypes, woodcuts and lithographs. These are large and created with the same intense color and movement seen in her ceramics. At this same time she began a series of large paintings to be shown as part of her ceramic installations. Although each installation contains a ceramic vessel, over time the painting became the major element in her work.

Woodman presents the vase, pillow form pitcher and other domestic forms in ways that explore form and color challenging the traditional borders of craft. Woodman has never drawn a line between art and craft and employs the best of each area in her work.   

An interview with Betty Woodman conducted April 22 and April 29, 2003 by John Perreault, for the Archives of American Art’s Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America is available at www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-betty-woodman-13297.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Archie Bray Foundation for the Ceramic Arts, Helena, Montana

Arkansas Arts Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Massachusetts

Boymans-Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Brooklyn Museum, New York, New York

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio

The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio

Colorado State University Art Museum, Fort Collins, Colorado

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, New York

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri

Denver Airport, Denver, Colorado

Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan

Het Kruithuis, s’Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands

International Ceramic Museum, Faenza, Italy

Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

Mills College, Antonio Pireto Memorial Collection, Oakland, California

Mint Museum of Craft+Design, Charlotte, North Carolina

Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Oregon

Museum Het Princessehof, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands

Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Provincial Museum Voor Moderne Kunst, Oostende, Belgium

Schein-Joseph International Museum of Ceramic Arts, Alfred University, Alfred, New York

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island

Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, Florida

University of Arizona, Tempe, Arizona

University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Utah Museum of Fine Arts, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford, Connecticut

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York

World Ceramic Center, Ichon, Korea

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Axel, Jan and Karen McCready. Porcelain: Traditions and New Visions. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill, 1981.

Bortolotti, Paola, David Caméo, Ida Panicelli and Oliva Rucella. Betty Woodman - L’Allegra Vitalità delle Porcellane. Florence, Italy: Palazzo Pitti, Museo delle Porcellane, 2009. 

Clark, Garth. A Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878–1978. New York, NY: E. P. Dutton, 1979.

____,______. American Ceramics 1876–Present. New York, NY: Abbeville Publishers, 1988.

Danto, Arthur C. Betty Woodman. Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum, 1996.

Houston, John. The Abstract Vessel: Ceramics in Studio. London, England: Bellew Publishing, 1991.

Jensen, Robert and Patricia Conway. Ornamentalism: The New Decorativeness in Architecture and Design. New York, NY: Clarkson Potter, 1982.

Koplos, Janet, Arthur C. Danto and Barry Schwabsky. Betty Woodman. New York, NY: Monacelli Press, 2006.

Kuspit, Donald. Somewhere Between Naples and Denver. Denver, CO: Denver Art Museum, 1988.

Lynn, Martha Drexler. Clay Today: Contemporary Ceramists and Their Work. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA: Chronicle Books, 1990.

Miller, R. Craig. Modern Design in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1890–1990. New York, NY: Metropolitan Museum of Art and Harry N. Abrams Publishers, Inc., 1990.

Perrone, Jeff. The Ceramics of Betty Woodman. Reading, PA: Freedman Gallery, Albright College, 1985-1986. 

Princenthal, Nancy. Betty Woodman. Sedalia, MO: Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, 2002.

Ramljak, Suzanne. Crafting a Legacy: Contemporary American Crafts in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 2002.

Woodman, Elizabeth. “Teapot Construction.” Ceramics Monthly (March 1969).

———. “Salt Glaze: Twenty Approaches to the Technique.” Craft Horizon (April 1972).

_________“Role of the Potter.” Studio Potter 2, no.2 (December 1976).

———. “About Pots.” Decade (February 1979).

———. “The Italian Experience.” Studio Potter 11, no.2 (June 1983).

———. “Betty Woodman.” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (Spring 1989).

———. “Keramico.” International Ceramics Magazine (February 1991).

———. “Readings on Color.” Studio Potter 35 no. 6 (December 2006).

______and George Woodman. “Ceramist’s Odyssey of Clay: Italy.” Craft Horizon (May 1980).

 

 

Typical Marks
Silk Pillow Pitcher
Date: 1985
Form: Pitcher
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Margaret Pennington Collection
Basket
Date: 1978
Form: Basket
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Gift, 1985.3.2
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Gift, 1985.3.2
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Water Tray
Date: 1978
Form: Tray
Materials: White Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Gift, 1985, 1985.3.1
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Gift, 1985, 1985.3.1
Photo: TMP
Cup and Saucer
Date: 1986
Form: Cup and Saucer
Method: Thrown (This piece was created in collaboration with Viola Frey.)
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anonymous Gift 2000, 2000.427a,b
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Anonymous Gift 2000, 2000.427a,b
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Mug
Form: Mug
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Rosenfield Collection
The Rosenfield Collection
Plate
Form: Plate
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Rosenfield Collection
The Rosenfield Collection
Platter
Form: Platter
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
The Rosenfield Collection
The Rosenfield Collection

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified March 1, 2016. http://www.themarksproject.org/marks/woodman