Wood, Beatrice (1893–1998) By Rohrer, Thelma
An American potter known for luster-glaze chalices and whimsical ceramic figures, Beatrice Wood was once named the “Mama of Dada.” Born on 3 March 1893 into a wealthy family in San Francisco, California, raised in New York City, and a student at the Académie Julian in Paris, Wood rebelled from her traditional upbringing by 1912. Seeking a more bohemian life, she joined avant-garde art circles, became friends with Marcel Duchamp and Henri-Pierre Roché, and was influential in the New York Dada movement. During the 1930s, her early successes in ceramics provided independent income and, by 1948, she settled in Ojai, California, to continue her interest in theosophy. She established a studio developing embedded luster glazes with radiant colors and continued this work for over thirty years. Wood was recognized as a “California Living Treasure” by her native state, named an “Esteemed American Artist” by the Smithsonian Institution, and partly inspired the character “Rose” in the 1997 film Titanic. She died on 12 March 1998 at the age of 105.