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Glenn C. Nelson
(American. b. 1913)
Large Floor Pot
c. 1974
stoneware.19 1/2" high x 16" diameter
Gift of the Estate of William G. Boyce

After completing graduate work and teaching at the University of Iowa (1952–56), Glenn C. Nelson was asked by Orazio Fumagalli –the first Curator of the Tweed Museum of Art and a friend from Iowa – to come to the University of Minnesota Duluth to establish a ceramic program for its Art Department. A year later, in 1957, Nelson wrote the first edition of Ceramics: The Potter’s Handbook, which was the first comprehensive studio guide to describe and illustrate techniques, clay and glaze formulas, and examples of ceramics from around the world. Altogether, Nelson authored five editions of the book, the last published in 1984, and thousands of aspiring artists worldwide benefited from its practical and aesthetic information. Until his retirement in 1975, Glenn Nelson transformed UMD and Duluth into a major center for ceramic education and production. Hundreds of students, many of whom are active studio potters and educators, were and are inspired by his love for and vast knowledge of the medium. Nelson’s own ceramic work, represented here by Large Floor Pot (ca. 1974), is distinguished for its marriage of authoritative form and carefully composed surface decoration, both of which seem effortless, spontaneous and in perfect harmony with each other. Of course, such spontaneity comes at the expense of great study and practice, both of the materials themselves, and of the long history of their application. With assistance from University of Minnesota Research Grants, Nelson traveled to Japan, Korea. Holland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark in the 1970s, studying ceramic practices and acquiring examples for the Tweed Museum of Art. In 1991, he presented the museum with a gift of over one hundred pieces from his personal collection, which today forms the core of an outstanding public resource of international ceramic art. The museum continues to add works to this aspect of the collection through the Glenn C. Nelson Ceramics Purchase Fund.

 
 
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