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 Claude Horan  (1917 - )

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Lived/Active: Hawaii/California      Known for: figurative ceramic sculpture, vessels, teaching

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Sculptural Form, 1966
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in California, Claude Horan became known for his figurative ceramics sculpture; graceful, exquisitely glazed vessels; and for and his contributions to the development of contemporary styles for that medium.  His works range from rough and nearly abstract to smooth and highly simplified.  He also had a long, distinguished career of teaching at the University of Hawaii.  He received a BA from San Jose State University in 1942 and BA and MA degrees in art from Ohio State University in 1946.

Married to Suzi Pleyte Horan, he collaborated with her on some of his major projects.

In Manoa, Hawaii in 1947, he initiated the ceramics program and continued to teach there until 1967 when he took a sabbatical and studied glass blowing.   Then he established a glass blowing studio at the university in 1968.

In 1978, he became Professor Emeritus from the University of Hawaii.

"Horan has said, 'I came into art through the back door.” Growing up in Long Beach, the artist’s early passions were swimming, water polo and surfing.  His abilities as a waterman led to his recruitment by San Jose State University, where he chose art as his major because, he admits, “Art—cinch courses—no homework—easy to keep eligible for sports!'  He liked ceramics because all he had to do was make pots, and began to apply what he had learned from competitive sports to this pursuit: 'Me against the wheel, striving for perfection, as I had done with my swimming strokes and surfing techniques.'  Gradually, Horan’s interest in ceramics superceded his water activities, and he began to concentrate on throwing pots full-time."

Horan left a position as an instructor in ceramics at San Jose State University in 1947 to establish the ceramics program in the Manoa art department and subsequently to become Chair of the Department.  "While Horan became known for his mastery of technical fundamentals, he was more interested in the sculptural possibilities of clay and encouraged his students, by example, to 'break all the so-called rules of working with clay.' "

The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu and the Division of Ceramics and Glass of the National Museum of American History (Washington, D.C.) are among the public collections holding work by Claude Horan.

His sculptures in public places include:

Untitled 1976 sculpture, Leilehua High School, Honolulu, Hawaii

Ho?olaulea (1976) and Cecil (1976), Red Hill Elementary School, Honolulu, Hawaii

Vita Marinae, 1975, Waikiki Aquarium, Honolulu, Hawaii

Na he?enalu o kailua maluna o ke kilohana a na nalu, 1974, Kailua High School, Kailua, Hawaii

Ki?i Kalai Mea Pa'ani Na Kamali?i
, 1974, Kealakehe Elementary School, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

The Stallion and His Crew, 1979, Pukalani Elementary School, Pukalani, Hawaii

Moby Dick and Friends, 1980, Kekaha Elementary School, Kekaha, Hawaii

In the Spirit of the Koolaus, 1980, Kalaheo High School, Kailua, Hawaii


The Contemporary Museum Honolulu (quotations are from this sourcr)

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