CARL WALTERS (1883 - 1955)
Rare glazed ceramic pig, Woodstock, NY, 1932; Signed and dated; 8 1/2" x 18"; Provenance: Collection of Jerome Shaw, Florida
Sale Price: $16,250
Estimate: $5,000 - $7,000
Two small chips to hooves, restoration to one ear.
In the spirit of the nineteenth-century bronze animaliers, Carl Walters was a twentieth-century animalier who worked in
ceramics. When he arrived in New York in 1919 from Oregon, he apparently knew nothing of the medium. However, within
two short years, he was exhibiting his pottery. In the beginning, he was greatly influenced by the collection of Egyptian
art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and one of his most famous early works was a copy of a hippopotamus
in what is known as Egyptian paste, with a brilliant turquoise glaze. This glaze would become a hallmark for Walters,
particularly on his plates and vessels.
As this charming statue of a pig shows, he was drawn to other sources of inspiration, including folk art. Indeed, the 1930s
was a seminal decade for early collecting of American folk art. Recent X-ray analysis of his work has shown that Walters
fashioned his animals in an unusual way: he rolled a slab of clay into a cylindrical shape to form the body, on which he
added legs made of solid pieces of clay to assure a strong footing. In the case of this pig, he painted the surface with
brown and reddish engobes and scratched linear patterns into the surface, all enhancing the already comic aspects of his
creature. The representation of animals as ceramic figures goes back centuries, but unlike those from the Tang dynasty,
Staffordshire, K.P.M. or Royal Copenhagen, this pig is no small, polite adornment to grace a table or fireplace mantle. At a
foot-and-a-half long, this animal carries a forceful presence and a beguiling sense of good humor.
– Dr. Martin Eidelberg