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Ron Nagle

Biography to Display: 

1939Born San Francisco, California

EDUCATION

1961BFA San Francisco State University, San Francisco, California

WORK EXPERIENCE

1961-1978Faculty, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California; University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, California and California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, California

1978-2010Professor, Mills College, Oakland, California

 

Ron Nagle’s work is characterized by its diminutive size and focus on the cup form typically decorated with a complex, intense and bright color palette. Most of his pieces are not more than 6 or 7 inches in any direction, many are between 2.5 and 4 inches.

Nagle’s work belongs in the world of Abstract Expressionist Ceramics, which includes Ken Price, whose influence can be seen in Nagle’s work. Nagle also looked to Japanese tea bowls and paintings by Giorgio Morandi.

His use of low-fire ceramics and multiple glazing techniques, often spraying 20 to 30 layers of China paint on each piece allowed him to create strong, saturated colors. The teacup reoccurs in his work throughout his career. He usually casts a model in plastic, then, after making changes, he recasts it in clay using a plaster mold.

In 1962 Ron Nagle and Jim Melchert formulated a white earthenware (whiteware) clay which, unlike traditional earthenware, did not dull colors but intensified them.  This whiteware advance was immediately adopted by Robert Arneson, among many others.

An interview of Ron Nagle conducted July 8-9, 2003 by Bill Berkson, for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America, in San Francisco, California is available at:
http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-ron-nagle-13019.

Public Collections

Public Collections to Display: 

Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii

Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento, California

Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Sedalia, Missouri

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art, Toronto, Canada

J. Patrick Lannan Foundation, Palm Beach, Florida

Johnson Community College, Kansas City, Kansas

Kruithaus's - Hertogenbosch, Netherlands

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

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, Washington

Mills College Art Gallery, Oakland, California

Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina

Musee de Plastique, Paris, France

Museum of Arts and Design, New York, New York

National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, Australia

Newark Museum, Newark, New Jersey

Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California

Oakland Museum of California, Oakland, California

Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, Rhode Island

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California

San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose, California

Scripps College, Claremont, California

Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, Washington

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

Shigaraki Museum of Contemporary Ceramic Art, Japan

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

St. Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, Missouri

Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City, Utah

Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England

Bibliography

Bibliography to Display: 

Albright, Thomas. Art in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1945-1980. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1985.

Berkson, Bill. "Nagle Wares." American Craft, August/September 1997.

Bonetti, David. "Ceramist Ron Nagle's Secret Life." San Francisco Examiner, September 8, 1993.

Clark, Garth. American Potters: The Work of Twenty Modern Masters. New York, NY: Watson-Guptill, 1981.

__________, and Margie Hughto. A Century of Ceramics in the United States: 1878-1978.  Syracuse, NY: Everson Museum of Art, 1979.

Diamonstein, Barbaralee. Handmade in America: Conversations with Fourteen Craftsmasters. New York, NY: Abrams, 1983.

Hamlin, Jesse. "Trying to Make a Better Pot." San Francisco Chronicle, September 18, 1993.

Hickey, Dave. "The Best of 1998." Artforum, December 1998.

Kelly, Jeff. "Mills College Art Gallery." Artforum, February 1994.

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

McTwigan, Michael. Ron Nagle: A Survey Exhibition 1958-1993. Oakland, CA: Mills College Art Gallery, 1993.

Moser, Charlotte. "Ron Nagle, Mills College Art Gallery." Art in America, May 1994.

Nordness, Lee. Objects USA Works by Artist-Craftsmen in Ceramic, Enamel, Glass, Metal, Plastic, Mosaic, Wood and Fiber. New York, NY: Viking Press, 1970.

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

 

 

Typical Marks
1961
Perfume Bottle
Date: 1960
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Slab Built, Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 92.1.61, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Mr. and Mrs. Fred Marer Collection, 92.1.61, Scripps College
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Untitled Plate
Date: 1961
Materials: Stoneware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Photo: John Polak
Contessa
Date: 1983
Form: Sculpture
Materials: White Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Barbara S. Rosenthal and Kenneth W. Juster, 1997, 1997.416.1
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Barbara S. Rosenthal and Kenneth W. Juster, 1997, 1997.416.1
Photo: TMP
S.D.I. Eleventh Hour
Date: 1989
Form: Sculpture
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: China Paint
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Margaret Pennington Collection
Incense Burner
Date: 1990-1991
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Hand Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Margaret Pennington Collection
Photo: John Polak
Watermelon
Form: Sculpture
Materials: White Earthenware
Method: Slab Built
Surface Technique: Glaze
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Barbara S. Rosenthal and Kenneth W. Juster, 1998, 1998.533.2
Photo: TMP
Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Barbara S. Rosenthal and Kenneth W. Juster, 1998, 1998.533.2
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP
Photo: TMP

Citation: "The Marks Project." Last modified October 7, 2019. http://www.themarksproject.org:443/marks/nagle