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Richard DeVore

Biography to Display: 

1933Born Toledo, Ohio

2006Died Fort Collins, Colorado


1955BEd. University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio

1957MFA Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan


1966Head of Ceramics Department, Cranbrook Academy of Art

1978-2004Faculty, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado


Richard DeVore concentrated on simple vessel forms; tall vases, shallow dishes and low bowls. The interior of these vessels was the primary focal point. His neo-primitive vessels had uneven or folded rims and, sometimes, distressed markings with a characteristic subtle skin-like surface. They echoed qualities of the pottery of the Anastasi and Mimbres Indians without a direct visual reference.

DeVore received his M.F.A. from Cranbrook where he studied with Maija Grotell. In 1966, she selected DeVore as her successor to head the ceramics department. During the 1960s he explored techniques and approaches to ceramics, including bright colors, lusters, and figurative sculpture. By late 1960s he began a body of work sharply focused on the vessel form for which he is known.

During his life, DeVore rejected the attempts to classify his work as ceramic sculpture, and insisted on it being called pottery. DeVore rejected embellishments and insisted on purity of form and surface. He used matte glazes to capture the subtle colors and textures of flesh, smooth stones or dried earth. Like Buzio and Delisle, DeVore used the vessel as a point of aesthetic departure from the traditional container, using only the essence of the form to create a unique sculptural ceramic work. DeVore reinvigorated the potter’s art by showing the potential of the vessel for expressing a personal contemporary aesthetic.

DeVore’s abstraction began with detailed drawings of each new object in which he worked out the volumetric relationships of the details to the finished work. He is known to have finished the rim last, adding folds or projections. DeVore’s work was important in establishing an understanding that clay could be used to create abstract art.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, Arizona

Arkansas Art Center, Little Rock, Arkansas

Boymans van Beunigen Museum, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio

Contemporary Museum of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii

Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri 

Davis Museum at Wellesley College,, Wellesley, Massachusetts

Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware

Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado

Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Missouri

Eastern Michigan University, Art Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York, New York

Flint Institute of Arts, Flint Township, Michigan

Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University, Logan, Utah

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

J. Patrick Lannan Foundation, Los Angeles, California

John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha, Nebraska

Kestner Museum, Hanover, West Germany

Krannert Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois

Kruithuis Museum, the Netherlands

Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, California

Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

M.H. De Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco, California

Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

Museum of Art, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas

National Collection of Contemporary Art, Paris, France

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

Nelson Fine Arts Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona

Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana

Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, D.C.

St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri

Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee

University of Colorado Museum, Boulder, Colorado

University of Michigan Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan

University of Nebraska State Museum, Lincoln, Nebraska

Utah Museum of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, Utah

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut


Bibliography to Display: 

Clark, Garth and Margie Hughto. A Century of Ceramics in the United States, 1878-1978. NY: E.P. Dutton, 1979.

Clark, Garth, and Cindy Strauss. Shifting Paradigms in Contemporary Ceramics: The Garth Clark & Mark Del Vecchio Collection. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2012.

Dietz, Ulysses Grant. Great Pots Contemporary Ceramics from Function to Fantasy. Madison, WI: Guild Publishers, 2003.

Lauria, Jo. Color and Fire Defining Moments in Studio Ceramics, 1950-2000. New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 2000.

Levin, Elaine. The History of American Ceramics: From Pipkins and Bean Pots to Contemporary Forms, 1607 to the present. New York, NY: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1988.

Lippard, Lucy, ed. Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory. New York, NY: Pantheon Books, 1983.

Lynn, Martha Drexler. Clay Today, Contemporary Ceramists and Their Work A Catalogue of the Howard and Gwen Laurie Smits Collection at the Los Angeles County Art Museum. CA: Chronicle Books, 1990.

Manhart, Marcia, Tom Manhart, and Carol Haralson eds. The Eloquent Object the Evolution of American Art in Craft Media Since 1945. Tulsa, OK: The Philbrook Museum of Art, 1987.

McGowan, Robert, Janet Koplos, Emily Zilber, and Gregory Wittkop. Richard DeVore. Bloomfield Hills, MI: Cranbrook Art Museum, 2008.

Norland, Gerald. Richard DeVore, 1972-1982. Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1983.

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

Peterson, Susan. The Craft and Art Of Clay. London, UK: Calmann & King LTD, 2000.


CV or Resume: Click Here to Download
Source: Elaine Levin Archive, University of Southern California


Typical Marks

There are no known signed or marked pieces of DeVore’s work. A general statement cannot be made at this time, but two numbered examples are shown below. The first,  Bowl #561, is on a piece in the collection of the Everson Museum of Art. According to the Everson Museum’s records this piece was made in 1988.  The second, Bowl #548 pictured below in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art is dated 1988 (we do not have a foot image of this piece).

Shrine to Gracefullness
Date: 1968
Courtesy Elaine Levin Archive, University of Southern California
Courtesy Elaine Levin Archive, University of Southern California
Date: 1974
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Dimensions: 7 3/4 x 7 5/16 inches (19.7 x 18.6 cm)
Surface Technique: Glaze
Philadelphia Museum of Art, George W.B. Taylor Fund 1975
Philadelphia Museum of Art, George W.B. Taylor Fund 1975
Untitled Bowl #561
Date: 1988
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Surface Technique: Burnished, Unglazed
Everson Museum of Art Collection, Museum Purchase, 1988
Photo: John Polak
Everson Museum of Art Collection, Museum Purchase, 1988
Photo: John Polak
No. 548
Date: 1988
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown and Altered
Dimensions: 16 x 14 inches (40.6 x 35.6 cm)
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of Edna S. Beron 1996
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Bequest of Edna S. Beron 1996
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Burnished, Unglazed
Photo: Loren Maron
Photo: Loren Maron
Photo: Loren Maron
Photo: Loren Maron
Courtesy Elaine Levin Archives, University of Southern California
Courtesy Elaine Levin Archives, University of Southern California
Relief Platter
Courtesy Elaine Levin Archives, University of Southern California
Courtesy Elaine Levin Archives, University of Southern California
Date: 1998
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Scripps College Collection, 2016.7.7
Photo: TMP
Scripps College Collection, 2016.7.7
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified August 4, 2023.