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Ralph Bacerra

Teapot
1989
earthenware
16 1/4 x 12 3/8 x 9 5/8 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the James Renwick Alliance and museum purchase through the Smithsonian Institution Collections Acquisition Program

Ralph Bacerra did not create the teapot to brew tea but to be enjoyed as a purely visual and tactile experience. Teapot is a study of contrasting shapes, colors, and textures. The tree-trunk body and twig handle, spout, finial, and rock base appear rustic. In contrast, the textile-inspired decoration, rich colors, and metallic finishes look refined. In addition, dull textures juxtaposed with glassy finishes create a lively effect. Although created from clay, Teapot is indebted to artistic traditions in wood, textiles, and metals.