George Ohr is recognized by many as the most influential and controversial individual in American art pottery history. George Ohr began producing art pottery in the early 1880s. It is estimated that Ohr produced approximately 10,000 pieces during his years of production. George Ohr ceased potting around 1909.
George Ohr pottery is typically characterized by the twisted, manipulated, and violently tortured nature of his forms. No two were alike and examples of Ohr's work were limited strictly by his imagination. Ohr's glazes were similarly unique and his pots are often recognized for their brilliant glazing. Later examples of George Ohr are entirely unglazed.
"While Ohr had a healthy self-image, during his lifetime many others in the art world did not accept him or his pots, and considered him a boasting eccentric. In the early 1900s, the Arts and Crafts Movement and its leader advocated that an artist should display control and perfection in all art forms. Ohr displayed little obvious perfectionism in his art or control in his person, antagonizing art leaders nationally and political leaders at home. Ohr's work is now seen as ground-breaking and a harbinger of the abstract sculpture and pottery that developed in the mid-20th century. Ohr's pieces are now relatively rare and highly coveted."
"In 1894, a major fire burned Ohr's workshop to the ground, and all his prior work was destroyed.
As opposed to letting the fire and destruction depress him, Ohr saw it as a liberating event that freed him from his past in order to create a new and more artistic, expressionistic future. The result was an explosion of creativity driven by the urgency to recreate a life's work. The heavily manipulated ceramics he produced evoke the free form nature of other non-traditionalists like Frank Gehry's architecture"