Artist as Collector, Collector as Artist: William Itter

A show of African ceramics recently donated to the IU Art Museum is currently paired with a retrospective of the donor's own artwork.

Itter Pottery

Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

Itter Pottery

Collector William Itter’s recent gift of African ceramics, baskets and textiles to the IU Art Museum is being showcased in an exhibition currently on view. At the same time, Bill Itter’s own paintings and drawings are on display in a retrospective at the Hope School of Fine Arts Gallery.

Itter is recently retired from the Indiana University Hope School of Fine Arts, where he was a professor for more than 35 years. The artist’s collecting began in the 60s, when Itter was in graduate school at Yale. The artist and his late wife, the nationally known fiber artist Diane Itter, began collecting in earnest to have immediate access to a library of visual forms and ideas. The collections range from the sub-Saharan vessels and baskets to Navajo blankets and American folk art and beyond.

Itter has discovered that the objects he collects have served not only as inspiration for his own paintings and drawings; but his studio work, and the ideas he explores in course development, have guided his collecting decisions.

Form and Surface: African Ceramics, Baskets and Textiles from the William Itter Collection” is mounted in the IU Art Museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery on the first floor through December 13. Next door at the SoFA Gallery, you can see the collector’s own work in “William Itter: A Retrospective—Paintings and Drawings 1969-2009”, on display through November 20.

Yaël Ksander

Raised in Alexandria, Virginia, Yael holds a MFA in painting from Indiana University, an MA in art history from Columbia University, and a BA from the University of Virginia, where she studied languages and literature. She joined WFIU in 2000, where she hosts music and talk programs, and produces features on artists, writers, musicians and other creative people for Artworks. Yael co-hosts A Moment of Science and writes essays for A Moment of Indiana History. She enjoys getting to know WFIU listeners--from those who submit commentaries for Speak Your Mind to those who provide the comments she reads on Saturday mornings.

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  • Katiewilliam

    when was this written?, i have some art homework about this pottery.

  • David Wood

    This article is from October of 2009.

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