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Richard A. Hirsch, Rick Hirsch

Biography to Display: 

1944 Born New York, New York


1966 BS Art Education, State University of New York, New Paltz, New York

1971 MFA Ceramics, School for the American Craftsmen, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York

2008 Honorary Ph.D. Taiwan National University of the Arts, Taiwan


1966-1968 Teacher, Junior High School, Newburgh, New York

1972-1974 Ceramic Master, Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

1975-1985 Associate Professor of Ceramics, Program in Artisanry, Boston University- Franklin Institute Projects, Boston, Massachusetts

1987-2014 Professor Emeritus, School for American Crafts, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, New York


Richard Hirsch’s works are typically made using earthenware to which he adds talc and spodumene. The complex colors seen on his pieces are the result of the application of multiple layers of slips and glazes. A piece is often fired between the layers. Finally, each piece is finished in a raku firing, a technique Hirsch developed to create the surface patina seen on ancient ceramic wares.

Richard Hirsch’s work traces the evolution of the vessel through explorations of vessel forms from various cultural traditions. These range from ancient Chinese bronze tripod vessels to wares used in the the16th-century Japanese tea ceremony, to Pre-Columbian clay vessels and contemporary ceramics such as the modernist sculptures of Constantin Brancusi.

Beginning in the 1990s, Hirsch’s works became larger, incorporating multiple sections and forms including blades, mallets, and mortar and pestle. Hirsch also began to incorporate forged iron, glass, and other mixed-media elements in his stacked and arranged series of vessels during this period. 

For three decades Hirsch managed to balance a career in the studio with one in the classroom. He was a sought-after teacher wherever he taught until his retirement in 2014. His students include: Rau Chen, Ching-Yuan Chang, Kendra J. Conn, Kelli Damron, Andrew Denney, E. Blaise DePaolo, Lisa Tully Debble, Jeremiah Donovan, Moi Dugan, D. Leslie Ferst, Rod Guyer, Abby Huntoon, Ho-Jeong Jeong, Do-Sik Kang, Jeff Kell, Christopher Kelly, Ray Liao, Leigh Taylor Mickelson, Jill Oberman, Toshio Ohi, Erin O’Sullivan, Scott Place, Chloe Rizzo, Paul Sacaridiz, Preston Saunders, Ellen Schön,  Tracy Shell, Marvin Sweet, Trevor Tait, Julie Terestman, Charles Washburn, James R. White, Robin Whiteman, Bruce M. Winn, Bok-Ja Won, Graham Yeager, and Hyuejin You.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Benaki Museum, Athens, Greece

Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida

Burchfield Penney Art Center, Buffalo, New York

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Ceramic Research Center, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
China Art Academy Museum, Hangzhou, China

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, Massachusetts

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

Honolulu Academy of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii

lcheon World Ceramic Center, Gyeonggi-do, South, Korea

Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts

The National Museum of Art, Riga, Latvia

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri

New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana

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

Ohi Museum, Kanazawa, Japan

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery, Scripps College, Claremont, California

Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea

Sorlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway

Taipei Country Yingge Ceramics Museum, Taipei, Taiwan


Bibliography to Display: 

Andrews, Tim. Raku, 2nd ed. London, England: A&C Black, 2005.Cooper, Emmanuel. Ten Thousand Years of Ceramics. London, England: The British Museum Press, 1999.

Hirsch, Richard. “The Raku Family Tradition.” Studio Potter (January 1979).

____________ and C. D. Tyler. “The Nature of Raku.” Craft Dimensions (February 1974).

____________ and C. D. Tyler. Raku. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill, 1975.

Hopper, Robin. The Ceramic Spectrum. Radnor, PA: Chilton Book Company, 1983.

Hunt, Bill. 21st Century Ceramics.  Westerville, Ohio: The American Ceramics Society, 2003.

Jones, David. Firing: Philosophies within Contemporary Ceramic Practice. Marlborough, England: Crowood Press, 2008.

Jones, David. Raku: Investigation into Fire. London, England: Crowood Publishing, 1999.

Lane, Peter. Ceramic Form. New York, NY: Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., 1990.

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.

Manheimer, Marcia and Tom Manheimer, The Eloquent Object. Seattle, Washington, The University of Washington Press, 1987.

Meyer, Scott. "With Fire" Richard Hirsch. A life Between Chance and Design. Rochester, NY: The Carey Press, Rochester Institute of Technology, 2013.

Ming, Bai. World Famous Ceramic Artists Studio'sVolume of America. Beijing, China: Fine Art and Photography Publishing House, 2005.

_______. Oversea Contemporary Ceramic Art Classics. Beijing, China: Fine Art and Photography Publishing House, 2002.

_______. World Contemporary Ceramics: A Brief Introduction. Peoples Republic of China: Jiangxi Art Publication, 1999.

Peterson, Susan. Contemporary Ceramics. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill, 2000.

Raku: Origins, Impact, and Contemporary Expressions. Eagleheart Center for Art and Inquiry, Grand Junction, Colorado, 2005.

Rhodes, Daniel revised and expanded by Robin Hopper. Clay and Glazes for the Potter, 3rd ed. lola, WI: Krause Publications, 2000.

Shin, Sang-Ho. Contemporary Ceramics: A Step Toward the Future. South Korea: Hong-lk University Press,1997.

Sweet, Marvin. The Yixing Effect: Echoes of the Chinese Scholar. Beijing, People's Republic of China: Foreign Language Press, 2006.

The Uncommon Denominator: A Tribute to Richard Hirsch. Rochester, NY: Rochester Institute of Technology, Cary Graphic Arts Press, 2005.

Watkins, James and Paul Wandless. Alternative Kilns and Firing Techniques. New York, NY: Lark Books, 2004.

Wechsler, Susan. Low-Fire Ceramics: A New Direction in American Clay. NewYork, NY: Watson-Guptill, 1981.

Zakin, Richard. Electric Kiln Ceramics. Columbus, OH: The American Ceramics Society, 2015.

___________. Ceramics: Ways of Creation. lola, WI, Krause Publications, 2002.

___________. Electric Kiln Ceramics. lola, WI, Krause Publications, 2004.

Zhou, Guangzhen. American Ceramics Artist Today.  Beijing, China: Peoples Artistic Corp.,1998.

______________. The Masters of International Ceramic Art and Their Works. Shanghai, China: Shanghai Fine Art Publishers, 2006.



Typical Marks

Mostly signed on the bottom of works with a tool through the terra-sigilatta.

Ceremonial Cup 1
Date: ca 1980
Method: Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze, Raku
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, Scripps College, 78.1.755
Photo: ca 1980
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, Scripps College, 78.1.755
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Ceremonial Cup #27
Date: 1984
Form: Sculpture
Method: Hand-Built (Blue underglazes, black-blue glaze, sandblasted.)
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
Vessel and Stand #11
Date: 1989
Form: Sculpture, Vessel
Method: Hand-Built (Blue-green terra sigilattas, cupric sulfate spray, paint dope.)
Surface Technique: Terra Sigillata
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
The Forrest L. Merrill Collection, Dane Cloutier Archives
Date: 1993
Form: Sculpture
Method: Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Artist
Altar Bowl with Weapon
Date: 2000
Form: Sculpture
Method: Thrown and Altered, Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Artist
Mortar and Pestle
Date: 2006
Form: Sculpture
Method: Thrown and Altered, Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Artist
Altar Bowl with Ladle
Date: 2007
Form: Sculpture
Method: Thrown and Altered, Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Artist
Crucible 11
Date: 2010
Form: Sculpture
Method: Thrown and Altered, Hand-Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Photo: Artist
Photo: Artist

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified July 28, 2023.