Raul Coronel

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Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on August 24th 2010, 1:12 am

This is an American Mid-Century sculptural bottle form by Modernist Master Ceramist, Raul Coronel, who made pots, lamps, sculptures, fountains, ceramic murals and architectural elements from 1956 until 1985 in Southern California. This piece is about 22 inches tall. According to Raul, this is an important piece because it marks the point that he diverged from making strictly functional items and began exploring more sculptural forms. It is signed by hand in script "raul '59". It is a thrown and altered form. Raul is now 84, and has not made pottery since 1985. He has authored a book titled "An Idol for Sheila Machen" which is a tongue in cheek murder mystery built around the career of a successful mid-century potter (his career, thinly disguised). It is quite interesting for the behind-the-scenes insight it provides of the period and lifestyle of the "swinging 60's" from Hollywood to Malibu. He is currently working on a second novel.

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More on Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on August 24th 2010, 1:21 am

This is a photo of Raul in his studio circa 1958.
url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=26&u=15559699][/url]

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by dantheman on August 24th 2010, 4:37 pm

the forms and some of the designs are of Scandinavian origin but other designs seem to be South American?

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on August 24th 2010, 5:13 pm

Dan, Good call. He is originally from Mexico, immigrated to the U.S. when he was 14 and during his career he drew from a variety of sources. Much of his later work reflects distinctly Meso-American influences, though his mature abstract sculptures appear to be patently original in style. In the 1950's he studied with some of the really big names in the American studio pottery movement, including F. Carlton Ball, Marguerite Wildenhain, and Peter Voulkos.

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More Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on August 26th 2010, 9:53 pm

Here are two more pieces by Raul Coronel. They are both lamp bases, though I have stripped out the lamp works and display them as bottles. Each is about 22 inches tall. The blue piece was done in 1958, the glaze was referred to as "Peacock" and was a custom order that took 3 firings (note the similarity to the piece he is holding in front of the kiln in the studio photo). I found it in a flea market and bought it for $55 (US), current retail is about $2200. The other has an abstract design painted with engobes. It was done in 1962. Both are signed "raul" with a date. This type of work was done to order in Raul's studio with a hole in the bottom, then sent to the client who added a wooden base and top, fitted the lamp works and provided it to a third party retailer.

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g.com/image_preview.php?i=35&u=15559699][/url]Her

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Yet more by Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on September 14th 2010, 12:37 am

I recently acquired this fabulous stoneware floor lamp (circa 1960's) by Raul Coronel. I haven't had it apart to see if it is signed, but I bought it directly from Raul, who said there were only 6 or 7 of these produced. It is pictured in his catalog from the period, and in 1968 they sold for $135 (USD). At the same time I bought one of his first tile wall pieces from the 1950's and a large figural sculpture (which had suffered significant damage that I am in the process of restoring--I'll post when I'm finished). I count myself proud and quite lucky to be his friend.
url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=38&u=15559699][/url]

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by dantheman on September 14th 2010, 10:07 am

his carved pieces seem to have an easily recognisable style,would you agree calusa?

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on September 15th 2010, 1:47 am

Yeah, I agree Dan, he seems to have used a limited visual vocabulary of simple lines and cutouts, that when recombined form more complex patterns; but once you become familiar with his basic shapes the work seems quite recognizable. I have seen literally hundreds of pieces in his photo archives and there is a bit more variation that we have seen here, but it all remains consistent and well within his stylistic parameters. In the 1980's however, he opened a new studio in Venice, California and while still turning out some of the earlier designs, he devoted himself primarily to abstract modernist sculptures as well as a series of one hundred 24 inch diameter chargers with glaze painted decorations that ranged from Diego Rivera references, floral and abstract designs, to a Mayan warrior dressed in a business suit and tie (I've attached a pic of one of the sculptures and one of the chargers). When he moved to Mexico in about 1986, he donated all the remaining work in his possession to charities and such, to be sold to provide educational opportunities. He returned to the US about 1995 with only two small bowls that he made. A relative recently reminded him though, that he had left three pieces with her that he had forgotten to reclaim. He called me and asked if I wanted to buy them....

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by dantheman on September 15th 2010, 1:01 pm

do you think Raul might allow us to see some of his photo's?

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on September 15th 2010, 3:16 pm

Absolutely! I have about 100 of his photos as jpgs, as I was helping him process his archives recently. I have full permission to use them (he is actually rather delighted that I started this post). I have pics of Raul working, pots, sculptures, murals, architectural elements, furniture, his studio/showroom, his beautiful home, installations, etc. What would you like to see? Should I post some? Well here's a couple, the first is a sculptural piece that is one of my favorites; the second is an installation he was commissioned to do for a law firm in a space where they wanted to have plants but were unable to because of poor lighting conditions, so Raul created this "garden" of "spacey" modern organic shapes.


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more pics

Post by Calusa on September 15th 2010, 5:18 pm

Here are a few more pics, they show some views of Raul's home in Malibu in the late 1960's. As you can see, it was decorated in perfect modernist period style. One shows the entry with his wife Leonore watering plants contained in his pots and tall candle holders in the corner, another pic shows his living room (note the mural, coffee table base, 2 curved chairs, and lamps, including floor lamp like the one I posted earlier at extreme left--all made by Raul). Another pic shows the kitchen dining area with table base, stools, hanging lamp, and table setting. Note also the drum table and sculpture out the door. The last photo shows an incredible swimming pool fountain commissioned by some rich people.


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[url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=47&u=15559699]

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on September 15th 2010, 5:38 pm

Here is one more for the moment, this shows a selection of the seemingly endless array of designs for pendant lamps (I'll post more later, but I must do some chores now). It may also be pertinent to mention that some of Raul's assistants/apprentices have gone on to become well known and successful ceramicists also; most notable are Frank Matranga and Brent Bennett. Bennett became a partner in Raul's studio and eventually started his own business. He continues to produce some designs that were created by Raul, which is an indication that much of Coronel's design work has proved to be truly classic. You can view some of Bennet's work at: bjbdesign.com


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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by dantheman on September 15th 2010, 5:54 pm

the more I see of his work the better I like it,his work is so typical of the 1960's and 70's but with a Central American twist that we don't see in Britain

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Re: Raul Coronel

Post by Calusa on September 15th 2010, 6:23 pm

Glad you are enjoying it--I feel the same. Since I met him and he has been sharing his photos and history with me, I have been literally stunned by the sheer volume and variety of his work.
As an aside, I have been fortunate enough to get him to agree to visit my pottery class and do a throwing demonstration (Although several people have attempted to coax him, he has not made pottery for 25 years).

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Stoneware murals

Post by Calusa on September 15th 2010, 11:41 pm

Here are a few of Raul's murals in various sizes and applications; the first is in a residence, over a fireplace (one of my faves), the second is made of cut up and glazed kiln shelves and was installed in Coronel's Hollywood showroom, the third pic shows Raul (looking natty in his 70's leisure suit and stylish mustache (God, I hated the 70's)) pointing at one of his corporate commissioned murals, the next pic shows a better view of the mural that is seen over the sofa in the previously posted photo of his Malibu living room. The last pic shows a very large abstract installed on the outside of a commercial building in Encino, California; it is made up of a series of smaller square panels that are repeated and alternated. It is impossible to tell from these old B&W photos, but these pieces were really quite colorful and several of the tiles have deep impressions that were filled with jewel-like crackled brightly colored glass (frit).
url=http://www.servimg.com/image_preview.php?i=53&u=15559699][/url]

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