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Betty Woodman (American, 1930-2018)

Sculptures

Birth Place: Norwalk, CT

Biography:

Who was sculptor Betty Woodman?

Betty Woodman was an American ceramic artist whose work in the field of American Craftsman ceramics helped innovate pottery into multimedia art. Her extremely colorful and inventive designs were critically acclaimed during her lifetime and expanded the scope of what ceramics could aspire to be. While classically trained, and with a good amount of experience as a production potter, Woodman will forever be known for her avant-garde pieces. 

Woodman has been exhibited in some of the best galleries in the world, including a career retrospective show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2006. It was the first retrospective for a living female ceramicist that the museum had ever done. She was an instructor and professor at the University of Colorado Boulder from 1978 - 1998. Through her work with The Pottery Lab, she was responsible for over 100 kilns being constructed in the greater Boulder area. She left a lasting legacy as an inspirational teacher and a pioneering artist. 

What kind of art did Betty Woodman make?

Betty Woodman made pottery, specifically ceramics -- pushing the medium to new heights by taking great risks and creating innovative multimedia pieces. Inspired by classic pieces from Greek and Etruscan sculpture to Baroque architecture, Woodman combined these aesthetics into something new and wonderful. The New York Times said that she, “moved [ceramics] from kitchen cupboard shelves to museum walls.” Her pieces are often irregular, large, and full of all sorts of color and provocative lacquers. Her earthenware was often impossibly twisted, defying expectations - and sometimes gravity - to produce one-of-a-kind works that inspired generations of ceramicists after her.  

How did sculptor Betty Woodman get started?

Betty Woodman was born in Connecticut to a couple of progressive socialists who cherished their feminist beliefs. As such, Betty was encouraged to produce art, taking pottery classes as early as age 16. She attended the School for American Craftsmen at Alfred University in New York City for two years before leaving to become a production potter. She spent much of the 1950s learning techniques and working, though by the end of the decade she was beginning to produce the avant-garde ceramics for which she would become known. She moved to Colorado to teach in the 1970s and convinced the city of Boulder’s officials to fund the Pottery Lab, the first recreational pottery program in the US. 

How much are Betty Woodman’s sculptures worth?

Betty Woodman was a pioneer and a true visionary, as such her sculptures can be extremely valuable. While some, on the low end, can be had for just a few thousand dollars, many on the high end can end up in the six-figure territory. Her highest-selling amount ever commanded at auction was $120,700 on September 26th, 2019 for the piece Winged Figure: cubist, 2009 (2009). This shattered the expectations, outperforming even the high estimate by almost ten times the amount expected. Her work is extremely popular and would make a great addition to any collection. 

Where to buy Betty Woodman sculptures for sale?

See works for sale below. Why buy from Heritage? Art buyers feel confident because our experts know the market and put careful valuations on artwork for sale. We make the bidding process easier to help you expand your art collection.

How to value Betty Woodman sculptures?

The best way to value art is to compare past auction prices for similar works. View past sale prices below. When you’re ready to sell, contact Heritage Auctions to request an auction estimate of the likely selling price at auction. If you need a formal written appraisal for estate planning or insurance, please contact our Appraisal Services department.


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Betty Woodman Original Art values sold at auction

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