Thursday, July 19, 2012

Beatrice Wood

"I who wanted danger, adventure, and love." 
-Beatrice Wood

"Beatrice Wood was an important contemporary artist, craftperson and writer. Her life ran the course of the 20th century and included many of the figures that shaped it. Ultimately, her genius was in the marriage of wide-ranging influences in her work. The spirit of Dadaism, impact of Modernism, embrace of Eastern philosophy, influence of folk art and even the ornament of ethnic jewelry were all combined in her ceramics. Her work reveals a mastery of form, combined with a preference for the naïveté of folk art. Ultimately, it is impossible to separate her life experiences from the work she created, as she truly mastered the art of a life."

Beatrice Wood 1908

"Beatrice Wood was born in 1893 in San Francisco to wealthy, socially conscious parents. Five years later, the family moved to New York City, where her mother concerned herself with preparing her daughter for her eventual “coming out” into New York society. This included a year in a convent in Paris, enrollment in a fashionable finishing school and summer trips to Europe, where she was exposed to art galleries, museums and the theatre.Ultimately, it was this exposure to the arts that ruined her mother’s plans for her. In 1912, Beatrice rejected plans for a coming-out party and announced that she wanted to be a painter. Her mother decided that, if this were the case, it would be accomplished properly. Supervised by a chaperone, Beatrice moved to France to study painting at the Academy Julian in Paris, but found it tediously academic. She moved to Giverny, the hometown of Monet, which had become a fashionable draw for aspiring artists, where the rebellious young Beatrice had a fight with her chaperone. She moved into an attic room, which could only be accessed by a ladder and lined the walls with her painted canvasses." *

Beatrice Wood with Marcel Duchamp June 21, 1917

While working as an actress in New York City, a friend told Beatrice about a Frenchman who was in the hospital with a broken leg, who was very lonely and had no one to talk to. It turned out to be the composer Edgard Varèse, who introduced her to Marcel Duchamp on her next visit.
“…We immediately fell for each other,” Beatrice recalled of her meeting with Duchamp. “Which doesn't mean a thing because I think anybody who met Marcel fell for him. He was an enchanting person.”

Photo: William Gray Harris

Bud pot Beatrice Wood 1960

Beatrice Wood a fascinating woman who led a rich and diverse life filled with adventure, creativity and independence.  To learn more read "I Shock Myself" the autobiography of Beatrice Wood.

Beatrice Wood passed away in 1998, at the age of 105 years of age, with the last 25 years of her life her most productive, creating work to satisfy a growing market for her ceramics, writing books and visiting with the hundreds of people who showed up on her doorstep. When asked the secret of her longevity, she would simply offer “art books, chocolates and young men”.*
*All text taken from

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love reading tales of those with pasion who explore their life to the fullest. Thanks!

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