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From Folk to Modern: Kentucky Pottery, 1900-1950
Louisville pottery Company, Louisville, Kentucky, 1906-1971, Cherokee line, produced about 1906-1950. Vase, 1940-1950. Stoneware, 11-1/2 in. h.
Anonymous lender L2007.8.2.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY.- The Speed Art Museum is proud to present From Folk to Modern: Kentucky Pottery, 1900-1950 on view in the Museum’s Focus Galleries through June 24, 2007. An exhibition of more than forty objects drawn from several important private collections, From Folk to Modern is the first exhibition to trace the transformation of Kentucky pottery as production shifted from utilitarian wares to art pottery.

Work in the exhibition ranges from everyday functional items including crocks, jars and other storage vessels, to extraordinary, richly glazed art pottery vases, pitchers, and other forms.

Along with changing economic conditions, the shift from utilitarian wares to art pottery was inspired by the early twentieth-century Arts and Crafts Movement. Devoted to the development and promotion of handcraft, the movement emphasized simple forms and restrained decoration. The rising demand for “artistic” pottery was met by Kentucky potteries such as Waco, Louisville Pottery Company, and the Cornelison family’s Bybee pottery.

Seeking to remain viable amidst an era of changing tastes, Kentucky potters incorporated concepts from the art world at large. Some specific influences in the exhibition include the rudimentary Art Deco styling found in the Louisville Pottery Company’s Cherokee line, the Asian and Mediterranean forms reinterpreted in the Bybee Pottery Company’s Selden Bybee line, and the “pot as a canvas” painting approach used by the Kenton Hills Pottery.

The exhibition was curated through the voluntary efforts of Larry Hackley and Warren and Julie Payne with special assistance from Jason Gibson.

A national leader in arts education, serving over 30,000 children each year, the Speed Art Museum has repeatedly been voted Kentucky’s best museum and is considered one of the top ten sites each Kentuckian should visit. The Speed honors its mission to bring great art to our communities through its distinguished collections and as the Commonwealth’s number one venue for international art exhibitions.

Rated one of the top ten audio guides in the country by MSNBC.COM, “Passport to the Speed,” offers insight into selected works in the collection, and is available for free at the Museum’s Welcome Center.

The Speed Art Museum is located at 2035 South Third Street in Louisville. Other features of the museum include a hands-on Art Learning Center for families, a café and gift shop. Gallery hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.; Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays. For general information, call (502) 634-2700 or visit

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