Beatrice Wood


Born 1893 in San Francisco, CA.; d. in Ojai, CA. 1998 nine days following her 105th birthday. A free spirit in all her many artistic pursuits, Beato, (as she signed her pottery) was born to wealthy socialites who disapproved of her desire to become an artist. But they did allow her to study painting in Paris, in the Académie Julian. She also studied acting at the Comédie-Française. With the outbreak of WWI she returned to the U.S. and began acting with a French Repretory Company in New York City. During this time she became involved with Marcel Duchamp and her first great love, Henry-Pierre Roché. With both men she helped create a magazine, The Blind Man that was an early expression of the Dada art movement in New York City. She became involved with the advant-garde movement of the early years of the 20th century in New York through friendship with Walter and Louise Arensberg, who sponsored gatherings of writers and artists that included Man Ray and Francis Picabia. Through these associations she later became known as the “Mama of Dada.” Her autobiography of 1985, I Shock Myself, tells the story of transitions in her life and her return to Los Angeles, CA., and how she came to making pottery for which she is best known today. Having enrolled in a ceramic class at a Hollywood High School she turned what was a first a hobby into a career that she developed with a passion. She made unique luster glazes on basic pottery of elementary forms – cups, platters, chalices etc. that proved artistically successful. In 1947she settled in Ojai, CA. where she built a home to be near to the Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti – and become a member of the Theosophical Society – Adyar. Here she taught at the Besant Hill School where her home is located on its campus. Her former home is an art gallery named “The Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts.” Asked about the secret of her longevity, she humorously remarked, “I owe it all to chocolate and young men.” Even late in her life it became clear that she probably never met a man for whom she was not passionately attracted. This Museum owns a spectacular and luminous luster-gold ceramic chalice bearing her signature logo “Beato”. While she made drawings and paintings, it was in the field of ceramic arts that her greatest creativity became manifest.

Past Lots

Beatrice Wood, (1893-1998, American), Figural vase, Glazed ceramic with applied iridescent figures, 10.5" H

Sold: $11,700

Beatrice Wood, (1893-1998 Ojai, CA), Long-neck vase, Earthenware, volcanic pink and light blue glaze, 11.75" H x 3.75" Dia.

Sold: $4,250

Large Beatrice Wood grey glaze ceramic bottle vase

Sold: $2,185

Beatrice Wood (1893-1998 Ojai, CA), a ceramic vase

Sold: $2,082