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The ceramic work of Richard DeVore has evolved steadily over the past thirty years, revolving around a central premise as he explores a range of formal and conceptual issues. As observed by Janet Koplos, senior writer at Art in America magazine, DeVore has gone far beyond the functional tradition:

His mature work, since the 1970’s, has engaged vessel form and vessel scale. It could be asserted that he, like any potter, has developed a style and stuck with it, yet he seeks a metaphor rather than function. He focuses on two of the age-old references to clay as a material: earth and flesh. Since environmentalism and the body were two of the great themes of 20th Century Art, DeVore now seems to have been astonishingly prescient—as if, when he took up these ideas, he had his finger on the pulse of time.

DeVore has explored these ideas while working within a basic structure. His signature form involves a vessel, colored in earth or flesh tones, with an irregular rim, tapering into a rounded or flat base. Working within these parameters, DeVore creates a strikingly rich variety of work. His vessels may be deep or shallow, rugged or even, squat or svelte. A glance inside may reveal a smooth hollowed bottom, a doubled interior floor, or even a thin, membranous shelf. Likening DeVore’s works to a crowd of people, Koplos writes that they are “recognizable as a species but amazing in their variety."

For Koplos, DeVore’s subtle variation on a theme is an extremely powerful way to convey an idea. She finds that DeVore has “neither produced jeremiads nor used text or images to tell a story. Instead, he has relied on the allusions that can be carried by highly abstracted forms and surfaces. The human capacity to understand through intuition, through feeling as much as thinking in response to formalist qualities, allows these intimations to be understood."

Clearly, the physicality of clay plays a significant role in DeVore’s work. He emphasizes each work’s presence as object through distilled, exacting texture and form. As Michael Dunas and Sarah Bodine describe in their article “The Myth of Fingerprints” (American Ceramics, December 1989), viewing DeVore’s work is an experience grounded in the physical:

For DeVore, clay and glaze must never dissolve into a psychological delusion. If pottery is to maintain its authenticity as an aesthetic abstraction, it must obstinately demand an empirical experience. This is why DeVore utilizes the elastic qualities of clay and the tactile qualities of glaze to personify human skin. They are contact references that allow the viewer to embrace an alien, inanimate substance as imbued with personality and character, though they are not traceable to anything but the physical quality of the gesture.

Whether DeVore’s work brings to mind worn, weathered skin or the roughened surface of a crater or hillside, it is the sensation or feeling evoked that is so significant. The objects DeVore references are starting points, the essence of which he captures through reductive and carefully chosen physical qualities. If one takes a moment to concentrate, standing before a DeVore becomes an intimate and breathtaking experience. It is possible to get lost among the folds, ridges and wrinkles of a single piece, all the while aware that it is a humble pot, made of clay and glaze, that has so transfixed you. Barry Schwabsky, reviewing DeVore’s work in American Craft in February 1997, describes this experience:

...he is tempting us not to contemplate an objectively complete and wholly knowable form, but to look further in, further in, until the object of our gaze is lost in an abyss…but the abyss into which Richard DeVore draws my gaze does not after all trap me, nor is it meant to; it elicits a critical consciousness of the seduction to which I assent, and in that consciousness is the release which sends me back to the safe distance from which I enjoy these beautifully restrained forms: no longer emblematic and troubling, but once again, for the moment, severe, balanced, harmonious.


1987     Installed as Fellow of the American Craft Council
1986     National Endowment for the Arts Grant
1982     Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia: Participating Artists
1980     National Endowment for the Arts, Craftsman’s Fellowship
            Fabric Workshop, Philadelphia: Participating Artist under a National
            Endowment for the Arts Grant
1976     National Endowment for the Arts Grant


1955     University of Toledo, Ohio BE
1957     Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Museum Collections

American Craft Museum, New York
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
Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, Delaware
Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado
Detroit Institute of Art, Detroit, Michigan
Eastern Michigan University, Art Gallery, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York
Flint Institute of Art, Flint, Michigan
Harrison Museum of Art, Utah State University at 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, Germany
Krannert Museum, University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois
Kruithuis Museum, The Netherlands
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 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
Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Texas
National Collection of Contemporary Art, Paris, France
National Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.
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
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Nebraska
St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, Missouri
University of Colorado Museum, Boulder, Colorado
University of Michigan Gallery, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Utah Museum of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, Utah
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, United Kingdom
Wellesley College Museum, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut

Selected Solo Exhibitions

2011     Ultimate: The Black Works 1998-2005, Meulensteen, New York
2008     Richard DeVore: Retrospective and “Last Works,” Cranbrook Art Museum,
                   Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
            Max Protetch Gallery, New York
2004     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
2003     Bellas Artes Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2001     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1999     Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
1998     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1997     Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, California
            Max Protetch Gallery, New York
            Hill Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
1996     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
            Bellas Artes Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1995     Hill Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
            Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1994     Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
            Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1993     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
            Hill Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
            Garth Clark Gallery, Los Angeles, California
            Bellas Artes Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
1992     Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
            Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1991     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1989     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1988     Greenberg Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
1987     Max Protetch Gallery, New York
            Hill Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
1985     Exhibit A Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1984     Hill Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
1983     Exhibit A Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
            Max Protetch Gallery, New York
1982     Currents 3: Richard DeVore, 1972-1982, Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin;
                    traveled to: Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois;
                    High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia (catalog)
1981     Exhibit A Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
1980     Okun-Thomas Gallery, St. Louis, Missouri
1979     Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
1978     Exhibit A Gallery, Chicago, Illinois
            Freudenheim Gallery, Buffalo, New York
            Yaw Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
1977     Fendrick Gallery, Washington, D.C.
1976     Helen Drutt Gallery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
            Quay Gallery, San Francisco, California
1975     Exhibit A Gallery; Chicago, Illinois
            Yaw Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan
1974     Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
1972     Yaw Gallery, Birmingham, Michigan