Doyle Lane: A New Discovery

May 11, 2016

Doyle Lane (1925–2002) was a dedicated artist and craftsman whose iconic “weed pots,” with their intimate scale and bold glazes, garnered strong attention among the crowded field of postwar ceramics in America.

Lot 117, Doyle Lane, 148 vintage tiles (executed c. 1965)
Lot 117, Doyle Lane, 148 vintage tiles (executed c. 1965)
May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

Although Doyle Lane’s work has become even more desirable recently, success during his life was somewhat elusive. An African-American artist, he was left out of major shows in his medium, although he was included in the Pasadena Museum of Art’s annual design shows of 1956, 1957, and 1960 as well as the landmark show “Objects: USA” organized by Mills College in 1970. He was able to make a living, but only due to the support of architects who supplied him with regular commissions.

Edward Fickett, the prolific architect who by some accounts produced over 60,000 units of residential and commercial space across Southern California, was perhaps Lane’s most supportive patron. In addition to personally purchasing weed pots, clay paintings, and sculptures, Fickett also regularly used Lane’s tiles as adornments and as murals in the interiors and exteriors of many projects. In fact, at the time of his death in 1999, Fickett still owned over 3,000 unused tiles by Lane.

In 2015, this extraordinary cache of “new old” stock was uncovered and subsequently assembled into murals based on historical examples. The example offered here is a collection of 148 vintage tiles from the Fickett collection, which have been posthumously mounted within a wooden frame.

Other works by Doyle Lane can be found in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Huntington Library, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

A Handbook of California Design, 1930–1965: Craftspeople, Designers, Manufacturers. B. Tigerman, ed. 2013. Doyle Lane Clay Paintings. The Landing exh. cat. 2014. Living in a Modern Way: California Design 1930–1965. W. Caplan, ed. 2011.

Lot Information:

Lot 117
Doyle Lane
148 vintage tiles
Studio, executed c. 1965
Glazed ceramic
Framed: 36.5″ x 74″
This lot comprises a collection of 148 vintage tiles by the artist, which have been posthumously mounted within a wooden frame based on historical examples.

Provenance: Edward Fickett, Los Angeles, California; Thence by descent; Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above)

Estimate: $12,000 – $18,000
May 22, 2016 Modern Art & Design Auction

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