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Comments for The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius: 10/21/14
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg is a middle grades biography of potter, George E. Ohr, whose unique style of pottery didn't gain recognition until well after his death.
Ohr who was born and raised in Biloxi to German immigrant parents had trained originally to be a blacksmith, thus following in the family business. But a friendship with Joseph Fortune Meyer, a local potter, was the inspiration Ohr needed to switch career paths.
Like Picasso, Ohr was driven to life long experimentation with his chosen art, both in terms of glazes and in the shapes of his works. Over all his style is very organic, the pieces often appearing melted or deformed, a style that wouldn't catch on until the 1960s and 1970s, four decades after his death.
Part of Ohr's problem with finding an audience for his work during his lifetime may well have been his over reliance on showmanship and his own ego. Yes, his work is good and yes, it was revolutionary but sometimes baby steps are the way to go.
There were a couple instances that the book outlines where he was given the opportunity to show some or his work or to sell some of it. But he was an all or nothing sort of guy. A little exposure could have lead to better exposure during his life time.