Bennett Bean

Bennett Bean (American, b. 1941)
Untitled Teapot c. 1995
earthenware, gold leaf, mixed media
Kamm Collection 1995.80.1
Photo: Tony Cunha

Bennett Bean is known for the rich and complex surfaces of his ceramic vessels. The surface design is created with glazes, gold leaf, firing technique, and painting media. This teapot is characteristic of Bean’s style, yet the functional aspect was a departure for the artist as he relates below:

“These are teapots about the idea of a teapot. Years ago, I was asked to make a teapot. I equivocated, but I was told that there were only two rules – it needed a lid and a spout. Utility, and the lid, seem to have fallen by the wayside. It should be evident that I find the spout the most interesting element – it’s not even made of clay. My teapots behave a little bit like a sonnet – they have a wonderful structure that will support almost any idea.” — Bennett Bean Artist Statement