Drawn from Earth: Figurative Sculpture and Works on Paper by William Daley


About the Exhibition


Drawn from Earth Figurative Sculpture and Works on Paper by William Daley, showcases approximately 20 works of art, focusing on the significance of Daley’s figurative works of the 1960s. Celebrating a generous gift of art to Woodmere from the late artist’s family, a few of Daley’s large-scale ceramic vessels, which he would become known for, complement the show. These pieces welcome curiosity, offering discoveries in their interiors, on their surfaces, and in the mysterious relationship between inside and outside. While the figurative work is less well-known than Daley’s vessels, in the context of Woodmere, they represent a fascinating element within a broader cultural phenomenon. The sensuality and expressiveness of Daley’s work will be evident through this show.
Drawn from Earth also includes work on paper: preparatory studies associated with some of the works on view and drawings that stand on their own. The show also includes a selection from a series of self-portraits in marker, ink, xerox, and other experimental mediums. Shown for the first time, these works reach back in time and manifest the artist’s troubled memories of being a young American soldier in the European theater of World War II, who, in 1943, became a prisoner of war for ten months.
A full-color catalogue, which focus on the significance of Daley's figurative works of the 1960s is available in the Museum Store and on Amazon at Drawn from Earth: Figurative Sculpture and Works on Paper by William Daley: Art Museum, Woodmere, Valerio, William R., Valerio, William R.: 9781888008111: Amazon.com: Books.
About William Daley
In the early 1960s, the great ceramicist William Daley (1925—2022) shifted away from glazed, table-scaled pottery and ventured into an exploration of figurative sculpture. Daley’s approach to the figure was intensely expressive and varied greatly over a roughly ten-year period. This was a creative investigation in various directions that sometimes involved the integration of wood or metal with clay forms. By the late 1960s, Daley would settle back into making ceramic vessels. However, his sensibility had changed: these would be larger works—pottery on a human scale—with a unique balance of organic and geometric forms in thick, unglazed clay. These works would occupy him for five more decades.
Past Exhibition Events:
Opening Reception
Saturday, February 10, 2024 | 2 – 4 PM
Please join us for an opening reception celebrating Drawn from Earth Figurative Sculpture and Works on Paper by William Daley on Saturday, February 10th from 2 – 4 PM. The event is free and open to the public.
Gallery Talk with Ruth Fine on the Figurative Work of William Daley 
Saturday, April 27 | 2 pm 
$10 (FREE, members) 
Join Ruth Fine in a presentation on the early ceramic sculpture of William Daley on exhibit in Woodmere's exhibition, Drawn From Earth: Figurative Sculpture and Works on Paper by William Daley.  Fine will offer insight on Daley’s life and influences and his figurative works of the 1960s, a period of work that is less well-known than his later large-scale vessels. She will show how the exploration of the human figure was an essential component of his creative vision that would evolve over the next fifty years.  Fine is the author of William Daley: Ceramic Artist.
Saturday, May 18 | noon-3 pm
Ages 5 and up, with an adult
$5/child (FREE for Woodmere Family Members)
Philadelphia's Clay Studio brings the Claymobile to Woodmere. A "pop-up" ceramics studio will provide fun and engaging opportunities to nurture children's imagination with the tactile medium of clay. This event takes place in Woodmere's Studio building.