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"Thumbprint" Planter by Stan Bitters


Thumbprint" planter by Stan Bitters. Thick walled pot with hand applied decoration, thumb indentation print.

Signature to interior. No cracks or breaks. Some paint splatter and patina. 

Stan Bitters said: “The surface of the container must be treated in attitude like a painting involving the variation of a theme, thick and thin line, color, relationships of form, scale, proportion, calligraphy, texture, and finally, the organization of all these elements into a single statement. All the elements of formal art may be found in pots”

Dimensions: 21.5 diameter x 18 H 

About the designer: 

Stan Bitters was born in 1936 in Fresno, California to Henry Bitter and Lydia Weber. The oldest of three siblings, Stan was quiet and mostly withdrawn. He attended Fresno High where his non-conformist nature at one point got him sent to the principal’s office for illustrating a term paper on the topic of sex. He attended San Diego State, later on transferring to Otis College, and finally to UCLA where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Painting. In 1958, immediately after college, he was hired to be the principal artist at Hans Sumpf Company in Madera, California, a company known for inventing a special emulsification process for water-proofing adobe bricks. The company’s main product was adobe, but Mr. Sumpf sought the creative potential of clay as a decorative element in homes. Stan was the first artist at Hans Sumpf, and his creations—such as the birdhouse, thumb pot, and other ceramic designs—would provide the company a stylistic imprint and creative identity. In 1963, he left Hans Sumpf and started his own studio after being commissioned by Garret Eckbo to build fountains for the Fulton Mall. From there, he created pieces for Duncan Ceramics, Guaranty Bank, and other companies to create wall murals for their buildings.

"The power of an object comes from its ability to tell you a story. Good sculpture makes you listen."

Today his work is more relevant than ever. Recent commissions for the West Field Mall in Santa Monica, California and the Ace Hotel in Brooklyn, New York, not to mention the hundreds of murals and sculptures in private collections in Palm Springs all the way to Berlin speak to this. His work is more popular now than in the mid century. Through it all, Stan has always stayed rooted in Fresno.

Credit: Stan Bitters