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Lee, Cliff (b. 1951)
Oxblood Teardrop Vase, 2007


Lee, Cliff (b. 1951)

Oxblood Teardrop Vase



Signed and dated on underside: Cliff Lee / 2007

13in h x 11in d

• An Important Main Line, PA Collection
• Acquired from the artist, Stevens, PA

• A smaller version of this vase is in the collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum


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    Lee, Cliff (b. 1951)

    Born in Vienna, Austria, the son of an ambassador, Cliff Lee was educated in Taiwan and later emigrated to the United States in 1968. He first began his career studying biology and later attended medical school at the Hershey Medical Center, Pennsylvania State University. Working in the medical field as a neurosurgeon, Lee later enrolled in ceramics classes at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia as a way to unwind from his stressful career as a surgeon. There he found a new passion and career path, and later gained his master’s degree in ceramics from that same institution in 1976.

    Lee’s ceramics are often inspired by natural elements such as flowers, water, stylized melons, as well as more traditional Asian forms and motifs. Lee’s ceramics are celebrated for his use of luscious glazes in bold, primary colors, rich oxblood, Japanese timoku, and more subtle hues in celadon and kuan ware.

    The current piece is exemplary of Lee’s elegant style with its simplified form and stunning oxblood flambé glaze. The Smithsonian American Art Museum currently holds at least ten ceramics pieces by Lee, including another Oxblood Teardrop vase that, although slightly smaller in size, it also shares the same elegant form, exaggerated long neck, and oxblood flambé glaze.

    Lee and his wife Holly, a professional jewelry designer, handle and sell their own work out of their studio in Stevens, Pennsylvania. In addition, Lee also shows at prestigious craft shows, such as American Craft Council Baltimore; Philadelphia Museum of Art Craft Show; Smithsonian Craft Show. In 1993, President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton invited Lee to contribute to the White House Collection of American Crafts.

    Lee’s work can also be found at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, Charlotte, North Carolina; Yale University Art Museum, New Haven, Connecticut; Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts; and the Racine Art Museum, Wisconsin.