Leza Marie McVey
American pioneer potter
Marie McVey (1907–84) was an American studio potter, also
known by her maiden name of Sullivan. McVey studied at the Cleveland
Institute of Art from 1927–1932 and at the Colorado Springs
Fine Art Center from 1943–-1944. In 1932 she married the sculptor
Mozart McVey, a successful artist in his own right. Between
1935 and 1947 the McVeys lived and worked in various locations in
Texas. In 1947, William accepted a teaching position at the Cranbrook
Academy of Art in Michigan, where McVey met Maija
Grotell and became friends with Toshiko
Takaezu. In 1953 the McVeys moved to Cleveland, where Leza
established a studio.
Ahead of her time, McVey hand-built large-scale, biomorphic forms.
Many were characteristically bottle-shaped with a ‘stopper’
in the opening. Her work was to help pave the way for modern ceramic
art in the USA. Her sculptural stoneware and porcelain vessels display
the influence of surrealism and her respect for natural organic
forms, in contrast to the machine aesthetic, e.g. of Futurism. Due
to failing eyesight, McVey’s output was strongly reduced in
A long overdue study of Leza McVey’s work, The
Ceramic Forms of Leza McVey, was written by Martin Eidelberg
in mid 2003.
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