George Ohr Pottery Fakes

George Ohr is often referred to as the "mad potter of Biloxi" not only because of his eccentric personally but also due to the diversity and uniqueness of the arts and crafts pottery masterpieces he created.  George Ohr pottery is typically characterized by twisted and manipulated forms.  Dsc4685

Prices of George Ohr pottery have rapidly increased from the $50 range for small examples in the 1980s to $1,000 to $3,000 for the same example now.  Superior examples Ohr that would sell in the $2,000 price range twenty years ago now sell in the low six figure range. This rapid price appreciation has resulted in reproductions and reglazed George Ohr becoming more commonplace in the art pottery market. 

As many collectors know many of George Ohr’s later examples were intentionally left unglazed in the bisque form.  For years, many collectors thought the unglazed bisque examples were unfinished pieces.  Some time around the 1970s, many unglazed bisque examples were reglazed and sold in the retail market.  As the knowledge of the reglazed Ohr examples has become more commonplace, collector interest in the bisque examples has skyrocketed.  Dsc03450

In the January/February issue of Forbes Collector, David Rago, who is commonly recognized as the foremost authority on George Ohr Pottery, provided some key factors to look for in order to avoid the fake Ohr pieces.  These factors include:

Glazed examples with the flowing script signature.  Many of Ohr’s later pottery was unglazed and marked with the flowing script signature.  While not a hard and fast rule, one should closely examine glazed examples of Ohr with the flowing script signature. Dsc03452

Clean examples.  The reglazed fakes from the 1970s are typically very clean.  Original George Ohr pottery often is not nearly as clean.  Pict0736 Dsc4689

Dull, opaque glazes.  Ohr’s original glazes typically show a lustrous depth not typically seen on the reglazed examples.  Many of the reglazed Ohr pieces are done in red. 

Swirled clay with colored glaze.  Ohr examples produced from scroddled or swirled clay were only glazed with clear color.

Disproportionate number of reptiles.  Fake Ohr pottery is often seen with a disproportionate number of snakes.

Clean bottoms.  The majority of George Ohr pottery has glazed bottoms.  The early reproductions have clean, unglazed bottoms.  However, Rago notes later forgers have caught on to this fact.

Pinpoint stilt marks.  Authentic George Ohr pottery was fired on long, Y shaped stilts.  Typical fake Ohr examples were fired on pin stilts leaving pinpoint stilt marks.

The photos above provide examples of authentic George Ohr pottery and his marks.  If you have photo examples of any of these fake characteristics or photos of authentic marks/vases please provide them to us and they will be added to this discussion. 

Greg Myroth 

Comments

  1. John Morykwas says:

    An excellent site. An informed public is an educated public.

  2. Bruce M. Turano says:

    Hi,I have a peice of Ohr,on the bottom written in cursive is G.E.Ohr,it is glazed,it is a peice which is called a nude,has handles on the side in the form of arms,it is a taal about 8 inch peice,What can you tell me?

  3. George Ohr says:

    Dave Rago is hardly the foremost authority on George Ohr, I suggest you do your homework before making such a statment and look beyond Rago Auctions, when Rago hadn’t seen a piece of George Ohr pottery before it was presented to him by collectors and dealers. Rago takes alot of credit for the hard work and vision of others. Bob Blasberg was the foremost authority on George Ohr having written a monograph on the subject in the 70’s when Dave Rago was riding around in a truck, picking up pottery from dealers and peddling his wares in NYC. I love these people who claim titles like this that are not warranted.

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