White Granite Bay

Wayne Higby, American, born 1943

Made in Alfred, New York, United States, North and Central America


Glazed and raku-fired earthenware

[2001-23-1a,b]: 13 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches (34.3 x 21.6 x 19.1 cm) [2001-23-2a,b]: 13 1/2 x 8 x 6 inches (34.3 x 20.3 x 15.2 cm) [2001-23-3a,b]: 13 7/8 x 7 1/2 x 7 inches (35.2 x 19.1 x 17.8 cm) [2001-23-4a,b]: 13 5/8 x 8 1/8 x 5 3/4 inches (34.6 x 20.6 x 14.6 cm)

Curatorial Department:
American Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
125th Anniversary Acquisition. Gift of Mrs. Robert L. McNeil, Jr., 2001

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Additional information:
  • PublicationGifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art

    A distinguished ceramist and teacher at Alfred University in New York State, Wayne Higby has been an influential figure in the field of American ceramics since the early 1970s. While he was still an undergraduate art student on a round-the-world trip, ancient Minoan wares in a museum on Crete opened his eyes to the profound historical and cultural significance of the medium. A few years later, a drive across the American Southwest prompted Higby to realize that a keen awareness of the landscape had permeated his life since his childhood in Colorado. Shortly afterward, he began to explore landscape imagery in raku-fired ceramics, selecting two forms--a high, oval bowl and groups of lidded containers--that have provided fertile ground for his aesthetic investigations over three decades.

    In his landscapes, Higby depicts the shapes of earth, air, and water. As Frozen Day Mesa and White Granite Bay suggest, the titles evoke the grand expanses of the wilderness, but they do not refer to specific geographic places. Both works beautifully demonstrate the full expression of Higby's ideas in his unique combination of subject and form. He sees a tension or a balance between the three-dimensionality of his ceramics and the illusion of projecting and receding space drawn upon them.

    In White Granite Bay, the five lidded jars are tightly grouped in a fixed relationship, providing only an exterior surface for the spectator to move around in order to comprehend the landscape. Darrel Sewell, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary (2002), p. 148.