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The Price of Ceramics

February 06, 1993

I greatly enjoyed Suzanne Muchnic's portrait of Fred Marer ("Handmade Art Changes Hands," Jan. 26). Marer's perspicacious eye and tough wit have long been an asset to ceramic arts in Southern California. Like many who have come to American ceramics from abroad, I owe the quality of my introduction to this field to Marer's personal generosity and his effectiveness as a cultural ambassador.

I was intrigued to read Marer's comment that I "ruined the market" for him. By his own admission, the prices of ceramic art were "too cheap." Even today, few ceramists can earn a living just by the sale of their work--even those who sell everything they make.

Ceramics remain underpriced by comparison to other media. What supports this view is that the market for ceramic art has continued almost unabated during the last three years.

I appreciate the frustration that Marer feels now that this world that he helped to maturity has moved on. But he needs to appreciate that the ceramist lives in a new economic landscape, far harsher economically than the 1950s and 1960s when the bulk of Marer's collection was assembled.

GARTH CLARK

Garth Clark Gallery

Los Angeles

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