Richard Peeler (1926 - 1998) Modernist Bird c. 1960s 5” High Ceramic Bird atop wood base on wire stand
Dick Peeler was both an artist and an athlete. An Indianapolis native, he taught art at Tech High School for seven years before returning to DePauw University (his alma mater) in 1958. While teaching ceramics, sculpture and photography, he developed a loyal following among both students and customers of his high-fired stoneware. In 1972 Peeler left the DePauw faculty, and with his wife and partner, Marj, worked for more than a quarter-century as a full-time potter.
In 2002 the Richard E. Peeler Art Center opened its doors and was dedicated during a ceremony at DePauw University.
“Richard Peeler was a prominent member of a generation of ceramic artists who transformed the traditional craft of vessel making into an academic discipline and an art form in the United States," noted David W. Herrold, professor of art, who coordinated an exhibition of Peeler’s work over 30 years ago. "Richard's participation in the formation of the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (the professional organization for ceramics) created the foundation of professional standards for the medium. His travels to Japan to make films about Japanese traditions helped introduce ideas about ceramic aesthetics and provided a point of departure for serious artists at a time when the United States had few traditions of its own.”