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 Raul Coronel  (1926 - )

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Lived/Active: California / Mexico      Known for: modernist ceramic, design

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Raul Coronel
Blue Pot
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Raul Angulo Coronel (1926-)

He was born February 28, 1926 in Mexicali, Mexico.  Upon joining the United States Marine Corps at the age of eighteen in 1944, he became a Naturalized Citizen of the United States. He served honorably in World War ll in the Pacific Theater of Operations.

From 1947 to 1950 he attended the University of California, Berkeley and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration.  From 1951 through '53 he did research studies in art at the University of Hawaii, and attended the College of Arts & Crafts in Oakland, California where he met Peter Voulkos, and studied with well known ceramist Marguerite Wildenhain.  Studying with Wildenhain taught him the craft of pottery making, but it is the association with Voulkos he credits with giving him new understanding and direction in the field of ceramics as a medium for artistic expression.

He then attended Los Angeles State College, receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Following that, he completed Graduate Studies at the University of California, where he studied with Susan Peterson and F. Carlton Ball.  While at USC he learned Ball's technique of making extremely large pots by throwing in sections utilizing more than one pottery wheel, and along with John Mason, he became a graduate assistant to Peterson.

In 1955 he began exhibiting his work in competitive and invitational shows such as the prestigious Scripps Annual Invitational, and the California State Fair (where he was awarded prizes in both ceramic and textile design categories).

He entered the Syracuse National Show in 1956, and before long his work began appearing in various museum exhibitions including the Pasadena Museum's influential "California Design" exhibits, The DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, Los Angeles County Museum, The Long Beach Museum, The Tweed Museum of Art, The Arts of Southern California Museum, The Smithsonian Institute and others.  His work was retained in several of these institutions' permanent collections through purchase awards.

In 1958 he established Stoneware Designs, Inc. in Los Angeles which produced Modernist pottery, ceramic furniture, lamps and lighting fixtures, sculptures and ceramic murals.  At Stoneware Designs he employed several people as apprentices and piece workers, including Frank Matranga and Brent Bennet, both of whom went on to become well known ceramists in their own right.

Many lucrative commissions were awarded to Stoneware Designs by interior designers and commercial clients for ceramic murals, architectural elements, fountains, lighting and large scale pottery.

Stoneware Designs closed in 1978 and Coronel worked as a freelance designer for several commercial ceramic producers (He is often credited as a major designer for Architectural Pottery, though in truth AP only produced one of his designs commercially; a Modernist perforated standing lantern).

In 1980 Coronel and some associates established "Raul Coronel Incorporated" in Venice California.  It was during this period that Coronel produced some of his best sculpture and "mature" pottery.  Raul Coronel Incorporated ceased operation in 1984 due to an illness in the family.

Coronel currently resides in Southern California and has published a first novel: An Idol for Sheila Machen. He is now working on a second novel.

Information provided by Michael Hickman, personal friend of the artist.

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