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About Mark Bassett

In the fall of 2005, Mark Bassett resumed his career as a college professor and taught at Case Western Reserve University full time for five years. Starting in the fall of 2010, he began teaching at the Cleveland Institute of Art. For details of his recent activities there, visit the News page.

Between 1990 and 2005, Mark worked primarily as a researcher, dealer, and collector specializing in American and (to a lesser extent) European art pottery. He is still an occasional exhibitor at select antique pottery shows.

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Background. In 1984 Mark began making occasional mail-order sales, via ads in the Antique Trader. In 1985 he earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri. In 1998 he began making Internet sales. A long-time member of the American Art Pottery Association, Mark has also served on its Board of Trustees.

His academic background is varied enough to include sub-specialties in 20th-century decorative art and design philosophy, nature writing, biology, linguistics, the novel in English, and auto/biography; he is an avid reader.

Author! In 1992 Mark Bassett began working with Victoria Naumann Peltz on a research project that evolved into the book Cowan Pottery and the Cleveland School. Published in 1997, the Cowan book was one of only two commercial publications to be nominated for a prize in Distinguished Scholarship, given by the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution. 

First published in 1999, Introducing Roseville Pottery is an extremely popular full-color reference book. In August of 2002, Mark's second Roseville hardback was published... Understanding Roseville Pottery. Like his first Roseville title, the new book is based on NEW research and is full of surprising corrections to the "common wisdom." In 2004 came American Art Pottery Wall Pockets.

With his return to teaching in 2005, Mark turned his research and writing skills to focus on subjects like Walter Inglis Anderson and ecocriticism, although he has also curated exhibitions on American art pottery and on Charles Lakofsky during that time, in addition to writing several short pieces on Viktor Schreckengost (including a memorial). He is currently editing an unpublished work by Cleveland watercolor master Frank Nelson Wilcox, a major Ohio impressionist. The book will be titled Out in Brecksville. An exhibition also using that title will be timed to coincide with publication.

Other Hats. Both for his own collection and to satisfy the interests of his numerous clients, Mark is always particularly interested in hearing about unusual examples of American and European art pottery.

Originally from Oklahoma City, Mark Bassett and his partner C. George Cooper (a native of Springfield, Colorado) moved to Cleveland in 1997. They had met in Wichita, Kansas, where Mark taught full-time in the Wichita State University English Department between 1984 and 1987. In Fall 1987, they moved to Nevada, Iowa, and bought a house when Mark began a three-year non-renewable (and non-tenurable) teaching position at Iowa State University. In Iowa, George worked for Arndt Organ Supply in Ankeny, a Des Moines suburb. In order to avoid the constant and unpredictable moves of the "tenure-track treadmill" and to allow George to pursue his passion for organ-building too, Mark temporarily left college teaching and transformed his hobby of collecting American art pottery into an occupation and research subject. Around the time the Cowan book was about to be published, the couple decided to relocate to Cleveland.

Not long before the 1999 publication of Introducing Roseville Pottery, they bought a 1917 Arts and Crafts Colonial home in Lakewood, a west-side suburb. George is the head voicer at Holtkamp Organ Company, and a theatre and band organ enthusiast. George is building a band organ of his own design (think Camelot), and the couple is happy to announce that celebrated their 25th anniversary on December 8, 2009. Mark and George enjoy ballroom dancing, including the Texas 2-Step, and they are Plus-level square dancers. Their little pug Patina (2007-2012) passed away suddenly in March, from congenital meningitis, a rare malady for which there is no cure.

© 2012 Mark Bassett
Updated 7/5/2012