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Carl Walters

Biography to Display: 

1883Born Fort Madison, Iowa

1955Died Saugerties, New York


1905-1907Minneapolis School of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota

William Merritt Chase School, New York City, New York


1908-1911Apprentice to Robert Henri, Chase School of Art, New York, New York



Studio artist

Founded the ceramics department, Norton School of Art, West Palm Beach, Florida


Carl Walters was known for both wheel-thrown pottery and for modernist hand-built ceramic human and animal sculptures.

From 1919-1921 Walters worked to recreate the turquoise glaze seen during a 1919 visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He developed “’Walter’s Blue’ a translucent blue glaze closely related to that seen in ancient Persian ceramics.”[1] Arnold Blanch introduced Walters to the Maverick Art Colony, which Walters joined in 1922. It was in this artists’ community in Woodstock, NY where Walters had his first kiln and studio.

Although predominantly hand-built, some molds were used to create the animal sculptures. The animals and human figures are sometimes placed in dioramas assembled and presented in slab-built boxes. “Walters was one of the first American sculptors to exhibit finished pieces in clay.”[2] “Walters had his first show as a ceramist at the Whitney Studio Club in 1924. … the Whitney Studio Club became the Whitney Museum of American Art ….”[3]He shared the general spirit of American work in this medium but his main sources were ancient Egypt, Persia, and China. By turning to the masters of this art in the distant past, he recaptured the dignity of the medium—and in so doing restored glazed pottery as a sculptural material.[4]

Early in his career, Walters was known as a painter.  He studied at the William Merritt Chase School in New York City with Robert Henri.


[1] September 17, 2018, 8:56 PM.



4 Homer, William I. “Carl Walters, Ceramic Sculptor.” Art in America 44 (Fall 1956).


Public Collections to Display: 

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

The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois

Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio

Davenport Municipal Art Gallery, Davenport, Iowa

Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan

Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York

Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Museum of Art, Ogunquit, Maine

Museum of Modern Art, New York, New York

Phillips Memorial Art Gallery, Washington, DC

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington, DC

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York


Bibliography to Display: 

Clark, Garth. American Ceramics:  1876 to the Present. New York, NY: Abbeville Press, 1987.

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

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



Typical Marks
Date: 1946
Materials: Earthenware
Method: Thrown
Surface Technique: Glaze
E John Bullard Collection
E John Bullard Collection

Citation: Clark, Donald. "The Marks Project." Last modified November 4, 2019.