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Walrus

1933 Carl Walters Born: Fort Madison, Iowa 1883 Died: Saugerties, New York 1955 ceramic 7 x 8 5/8 x 17 5/8 in. (17.8 x 21.9 x 44.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Gift of International Business Machines Corporation 1966.27.11 Smithsonian American Art Museum
Luce Foundation Center, 4th Floor, 48B


Luce Center Label

Carl Walters invented the trademark blue glaze seen on Walrus while working in his Greenwich Village apartment. He was inspired by a blue faience necklace he had seen at an exhibit of ancient Egyptian artifacts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and wanted to re-create the color. Despite having no prior knowledge of ceramic making, he worked for eleven months with only a crucible and a Bunsen burner until he finally produced the color he desired, which he named "Walters Blue." He also built his own kiln to fire the pieces glazed with this new color. Throughout his career, Walters created a menagerie of sculpted ceramic animals, giving each one its own personality and charm. The goofy expression of the Walrus seems well suited to a creature with such a comical physical appearance.

Keywords

Animal - walrus

sculpture

ceramic

About Carl Walters

Born: Fort Madison, Iowa 1883 Died: Saugerties, New York 1955