Peter Voulkos Coffee Pot, ca. 1955

Value (2010) | $2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction

It's by Peter Voulkos, and I think it's one of his early pieces. I inherited it from my parents. My father was a collector. My father was the director of the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and hired Peter Voulkos as a teacher of ceramics.

And do you know when, about?

It was about 1956.

And he worked in several places as a studio potter and as a teacher also, at Archie Bray and other schools, other foundations. He's known for his works in stoneware, sometimes wood-fired, sometimes gas-fired.


And this is an atypical piece of his, as far as I'm concerned. What we often see are heavy and aggressively produced pieces.


Did you know him?

Yes, I met him. I don't really remember him very well, but I did meet him.

He was kind of a bigger-than-life personality. He was a tall fellow, right? And very strong. And he started making these platters and these kiln shaped stackpots, they're called, and he would punch them, and he would cut them and gut them. I mean, he was extremely physical in the making of his pieces. And something like this is so delicate. It is very Asian in feel.


And it has this beautiful kind of floral decoration. And you could see how finely thrown it is. Mr. Voulkos won all sorts of awards from all over the world.


It's glazed inside. It's very, very nice. It has a little bit of chipping here on the edge, so that will affect the value. And it has a small firing line inside here. But these are quite minor. I'm going to show a signature here on the bottom. There is no date. He ended up dating many pieces, but this one is not. This is early on. It's probably from the '50s. He died in 2002; he was almost 80 years old. And so something like this, I would put at auction a very reasonable value of $2,500 to $3,500. And that is a low auction estimate, which is how we do well with auctions now, is to price things very conservatively.

Wonderful. He got fired by my father. My father came in and saw a big four-letter word written across one of his pieces.

Appraisal Details

Rago Arts & Auction Center
Lambertville, NJ
Appraised value (2010)
$2,500 Auction$3,500 Auction
San Diego, CA (June 12, 2010)

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