CHRONOLOGY

1933

Viola Frey is born on August 15, 1933, in Lodi, California. She is raised on her family’s vineyard and attends Lodi High School, graduating in 1951.

 

Senior class portrait, Lodi High Today yearbook, Lodi, California, 1951 1952-1953

Accepts admission to University of California Berkeley for writing, but then changes her mind at the last minute. Attends Stockton Delta College in Stockton, California, with an interest in teaching art at the college level.

 

1953-1955

Receives a scholarship to study at California College of Arts and Crafts (CCAC) in Oakland, California. Frey studies painting under Richard Diebenkorn, and takes classes in ceramics under Vernon Coykendall and Charles Fiske.

 

1955

Receives undergraduate degree in painting, CCAC, Oakland, California.

 

Frey as a student in the California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, c. 1958 1955-1957

Studies graduate coursework in painting at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana. Frey studies under George Rickey, Katherine Choy, and visiting artist Mark Rothko.

 

1957

Moves to Port Chester, New York, to work at the Clay Art Center with founder Katherine Choy. Frey supplements her income by working at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in the billing department of the business office.

 

1960

Moves to 495 Francisco Street #D in San Francisco, California. Frey gets a job at Macy’s Department Store in the accounting department and continues to work there until 1970.

 

1961

Award winner, California Crafts II, Creative Arts League of Sacramento, California.

 

1963

E.B. Crocker Art Gallery in Sacramento is gifted “Noah’s Ark”, stoneware, which marks the first museum to collect Frey artwork.
Award winner for “Covered Jar,” reduction-fired ceramic, Stone Forms: Association of San Francisco Potters 12th Exhibition, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco.

 

1964

Becomes a part-time Artist Potter in Residence, marking the beginning of her career at CCAC.
Purchase award for “Untitled,” stoneware vase, San Francisco Art Festival.

 

Viola Frey with her work in the exhibit <i>Ceramics by Viola Frey and Peter Layton</i> at Art Institute of Chicago, 1967. 1965

Purchases a Victorian house at 1335 Divisadero in San Francisco and converts the basement into her first studio.
Begins teaching a color and light class in the Painting Department at CCAC.

 

1967

Becomes a visiting Assistant Professor in Advanced Ceramics for a summer course at Art Institute of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois.
Award winner for “Landscape #2,” oil on canvas, James D. Phelan Award.

 

1968

Award winner for “Untitled (Brown Rim Plate with Fruit),” ceramic with glazes, Media ’68, Walnut Creek Civic Arts Gallery, Walnut Creek, California.

 

1970 Newspaper clipping announcing Viola Frey's residency at San Joaquin Delta College, Stockton, California, 1970.

Artist residency at San Joaquin Delta College (formerly Stockton Delta College) in Stockton, California.
Purchase award for “Pink Lady and Spotted Pig,” ceramic with glazes, San Francisco Art Festival.

 

1971

Becomes a full-time assistant professor in Ceramics Department at CCAC.
Award winner for “Flying Duck,” hand-built earthenware with glazes and luster, Ceramic Statement 1971, Association of San Francisco Potters, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, San Francisco.

 

1973

The Noni Eccles Treadwell Ceramic Arts Center opens at CCAC, where Frey is integral in its planning.

 

1975

Moves to 663 Oakland Avenue in Oakland and begins working on larger ceramic sculptures outdoors in order to study the light and color of her artworks.

 

1976

Casts her first series of bronze sculptures at the Walla Walla Foundry in Walla Walla, Washington.

 

Viola Frey giving a demonstration at California College of Arts and Crafts, Oakland, c. 1976. 1978

Artist residency at the CA 5 Ceramic Studio, Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Grant recipient, $7,500 Craftsmen’s Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts.

 

1979

Panelist for The Ceramics Symposium 1979 at the Institute for Ceramic History, Los Angeles.
Award nominee for the annual Artist Award, presented by The Oakland Museum, California.

 

1980

Panelist for the annual National Council for the Ceramic Arts conference in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

 

1981

Frey’s first solo exhibition and retrospective is launched by the Creative Arts League of Sacramento and travels to multiple venues around the country.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art purchases “Double Grandmother”, ceramic with glazes, which marks Frey’s first major museum purchase.

 

Exhibition brochure produced for Viola Frey’s solo exhibition at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1984.

1982

Panelist for California Sculptural Tradition: Figurative Sculpture at S/12 Twelfth International Sculpture Conference in Oakland, California.

 

1983

Moves her studio to a 5,000 square foot warehouse at 1089 Third Street in West Oakland.

 

1984

The Whitney Museum of American Art launches a solo exhibition of Frey’s monumental figures, plates, bricolage sculptures, and paintings.

 

1986

Artist residency at Manufacture de Sèvres, in France, with Betty Woodman, Adrian Saxe, and James Caswell.
Featured artist in NCECA 1986 Exhibition, where Frey also gave a clay demonstration and presentation at the Southwest Craft Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Award of Honor for Sculpture, Arts Commission of San Francisco.
Grant recipient, $15,000 Artist Fellowship Grant, National Endowment for the Arts.

 

Betty Woodman and Viola Frey in residency at Manufacture de Sèvres, France, 1986. Photo credit: C. du Rusquec.

1990

Presenter for La Céramique contemporaine aux États-Unis at Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, in France.

 

1991

Featured artist for glaze demonstration and exhibition at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park in Japan.
Artist residency at The Fabric Workshop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where Frey’s silkscreen wallpapers are created.
Award winner, Distinguished Women Artist Award and Exhibition, Fresno Art Museum, California.

 

1992

Artist residency at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington, where Frey’s first glass sculptures are created.

 

1993

Leads workshop at National College of Art, Craft, and Design in Stockholm, Sweden.
Artist residency at Europees Keramisch Werkcentrum, in ’s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands.

 

1994

Fellow, American Craft Council.

 

1996-1997

Moves her studio to a 14,000 square foot warehouse on Adeline Street in Oakland.

 

1997

Diagnosed and treated for colon cancer.

 

1999

Named Professor Emerita in Ceramics at CCAC.

 

Artists' Legacy Foundation logo.

2000

Artists’ Legacy Foundation is incorporated by cofounders Squeak Carnwath, Gary Knecht, and Viola Frey.
Receives Honorary Doctorate from California College of the Arts (formerly CCAC).
Honorary Life Award, presented by Marvin Lipofsky, at the 34th Annual Conference of National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts, in Denver, Colorado.

 

2002

Award winner, Masters of the Medium for Ceramics, James Renwick Alliance.

 

2003

Viola Frey Distinguished Visiting Professorship is established at California College of the Arts.

 

2004

Dies in her Oakland home three weeks before her 71st birthday.