Don Reitz (1929 - 2014) is considered one of the most important influences in contemporary North American ceramics. Through his studies of salt-firing, Reitz achieved and developed colors that had not been created before using that method. Reitz earned his MFA at Alfred University in 1962, during which time he began his lifelong exploration of atmospheric-firing. He spent many years as an educator as well as a potter, and taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for more than 25 years before retiring as a professor emeritus in 1988. He received the American Craft Council’s Gold Medal in 2002.
He recently had a major retrospctive of his career at the Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, MO 2012. His extensive body of work is represented in over 40 distinguished public and private collections. Some of the private collections include the Leatrus and Mel Eagle, Potomac, Maryland, Sara and David Lieberman, Arizona, Ruth Boyd Johnson, Racine, Wisconsin, and the Candice Groot, Groot Foundation, Illinois. Reitz's work is also feature in major museums such as Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California, Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte, North Carolina, Renwick Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C., De Young Museum, San Francisco, CA, and the Houston Museum of Art, Houston, TX.
Don Reitz lived and worked in Clarkdale, Arizona.
earthenware, low fired salt with engobes
2.5 x 22 x 22''
*In 1982, Don Reitz was in a truck accident and told he would never walk again. And while he was in the hospital, he learned his father had died.
"So I began revisiting my childhood in the hospital, making sketches," he says. "When I got better, I started drawing about my childhood: showing off to Claire Matthews, riding my bicycle upside down, jumping off a train." Reitz's young niece, Sara, sent him get-well cards with pictures. And then, he learned she had cancer. He incorporated some of her images, tracing them into large platters of clay. There were messages of encouragement on the back.
*note, slight clay separation where foot was attached to platter. It does not affect the piece.
black clay and slips
17 x 14 x 3''
stoneware, glaze, salt fired
5.25 x 5.25"
signed by artist