Status message

Your information has been submitted.

  Printer Friendly Version

Rupert J Deese, Julian, Rummy

Biography to Display: 

1924 Born, Guam

2010 Died Claremont, California


1950 BA, Applied Arts, Pomona College, Claremont, California

1957 MFA, Ceramics, Claremont Graduate School, now University, Claremont, California


1942-1946 Army Air Corps

Full time studio potter

1957-1971 Teacher, Mt. San Antonio College, Walnut, California

1964-1983 Designer, Franciscan Ceramics, Los Angeles, California

1983-2005 Full time studio potter


Rupert Deese is known for creating functional thrown forms of cone 5 walnut colored stoneware decorated with geometric repeat patterns. 

Deese studied ceramics with Richard Petterson and sculpture with Albert Stewart. For over 50 years Deese shared a studio with Harrison McIntosh, during this time they encouraged and often amused one another but their work remained distinctively their own.  Deese and McIntosh shared some glazes, kiln firings and both worked in cone 5 stoneware, however, each had their own unique stoneware clay body and forms.  In the case of Deese it was the walnut brown stoneware he used throughout his career.

Deese said of his work, “Considering the pot shape as primary, I have generally used simple, geometric elements—stripes, circles, incised lines and water-etched repeat patterns—to make the color and pattern of the finished piece”.  To create the surfaces he desired, Deese often sprayed the glaze onto his pots. In the early 1950s he was one of the first production potters to produce a catalog to facilitate merchandising his work to department stores.

For a number of years from the 1960s to the 1980s Deese, in addition to his studio practice, worked as a designer at Franciscan Ceramics primarily focused on dinnerware forms and related stainless steel cutlery and lead crystal.

Additional images, courtesy of Limehouse Circle are available here:

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Alfred Ceramic Art Museum at Alfred University, Alfred, New York

American Museum of Ceramic Art, Pomona, California

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington

Long Beach Museum of Art, Long Beach, California

Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

Maloof Foundation, Alta Loma, California

Mingei International Museum, San Diego, California

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah

Richard and Alice Petterson Museum, Claremont, California

Scripps College, Claremont, California

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick, Gallery, Washington, DC

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Bibliography to Display: 

American Museum of Ceramic Art. Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California, 1945-1975.  Pomona, CA: American Museum of Ceramic Art, 2013.

Elliot-Bishop, James F. Franciscan Hand-decorated Embossed Dinnerware. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2004.

Kaplan, Wendy. California Design, 1930-1965, Living in a Modern Way. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.

Lauria, Jo. Color and Fire: Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950-2000. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Rizzoli International Publications, 2000.

Lynn, Martha Drexler. American Studio Ceramics: Innovation and Identity, 1940-1979. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015.

Nelson, Glenn C. Ceramics, A Potter’s Handbook, 2nd ed. New York, NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1966.

Noland, Claire. “Rupert J. Deese Dies at 85: Claremont Artist Created Functional Pottery”. Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2011.

Perry Barbara. American Ceramics: The Collection of the Everson Museum of Art. New York, NY: Rizzoli, 1989.

Tigerman, Bobbye. A Handbook of California Design. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 2013.

Weiner, Rob. “Rupert Deese Stoneware.” Marfa, TX: The Chinati Foundation Newsletter, 1998.


CV or Resume: Click Here to Download
Source: The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives


Typical Marks

"The rectangular mark of his that you have in your collection is one he stopped using in about 1953, when he switched to using the circular mark, the vast majority of his ceramic works have the circular mark.  In addition, there is an unusual mark that he used briefly in the late 1940s/1950." Mary Ann Brow, daughter

ca 1970
ca 1980
Flattened Circular Vase
Date: ca 1970
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Glaze, Wax Resist
E. John Bullard Collection
E. John Bullard Collection
Date: 1970-1980
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Carved, Glaze
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
Spherical Vase
Date: ca 1980
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Incised
E. John Bullard Collection
E. John Bullard Collection
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze, Incised
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified September 11, 2019.