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George E. Ohr: "The Mad Potter of Biloxi"

Published on , by Tatsiana Zhurauliova

Unappreciated at the time of their creation, George E. Ohr’s “art wares” are now among the most sought-after ceramics on the global market, with their sale prices consistently exceeding estimations and often surpassing Ohr’s own valuation of his pots—the equivalent of their weight in gold.

George Ohr by an unknown photographer, 1895-1905.Courtesy of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum... George E. Ohr:

George Ohr by an unknown photographer, 1895-1905.
Courtesy of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art, Biloxi, Mississippi, United States

The self-proclaimed “Mad Potter of Biloxi,” George Edgar Ohr was born on the coast of Mississippi in 1857. Biloxi was known for its beaches, opera house, and fine seafood. By the 1890s, it added another popular tourist attraction: the Biloxi Art Pottery built and managed by Ohr. Before settling in his hometown, however, Ohr had apprenticed as a potter in nearby New Orleans and, in the early 1880s, had traveled through sixteen states, visiting ceramics studios, pottery shows and exhibitions to familiarize himself with the burgeoning American art pottery movement. He also participated in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where he likely saw the strikingly innovative glazes by French masters Ernest Chaplet, Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat, and Auguste Delaherche. In 1904, Ohr won a silver medal…
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