Toshiko Takaezu (June 17, 1922 – March 9, 2011) was an American ceramic artist and painter. She was born to Japanese immigrant parents in Pepeekeo, Hawaii, in 1922. She studied at the Honolulu Museum of Art and at the University of Hawaii under Claude Horan from 1948 to 1951. From 1951 to 1954, she continued her studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, where she befriended Finnish ceramist Maija Grotell, who became her mentor. In 1955, Takaezu traveled to Japan, where she studied Buddhism visited Shoji Hamada and the techniques of traditional Japanese pottery, which continue to influence her work. She taught for ten years at the Cleveland Institute of Art, and then from 1967 to 1992, she taught at Princeton University, where she was awarded an honorary doctorate. She retired in 1992 to become a studio artist, living and working in Quakertown, New Jersey, about thirty miles northwest of Princeton. In addition to her studio in New Jersey, she made many of her larger sculptures at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. She lived in Hawaii for 10 years and died March 9, 2011 in Honolulu. Toshiko Takaezu made functional wheel-thrown vessels early in her career. Later she switched to abstract sculptures with freely applied poured and painted glazes. In the early 1970s, when she didn’t have access to a kiln, she painted on canvas. Her work is part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, among many others. She was the recipient of the Gold Metal of the American Craft Council and a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation grant.
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