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Leona Fischer Nicholson (aka Mrs. Bentley W.)

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Leona Fischer Nicholson
Newcomb College Newcomb Ceramicist
(Francisville, LA, 1875 - 1966)

Leona Nicholson was an artist, educator and ceramicist who specialized in tiles. Born Leona Fischer April 11, 1875, in St. Francisville, Louisiana, Nicholson earned a Diploma in Art from Newcomb in 1901 before continuing the pottery program at the graduate level and earning a master’s degree. An active Newcomb artisan until 1929, she also attended Alfred University. Nicholson gained distinction as a pottery decorator, becoming an independent studio ceramist who handbuilt pieces and developed her own glazes. She was the first New Orleans woman to receive the distinction and title of ""Master Craftsman"" given by the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts. In 1927-28 she was included in the International Exhibition of Ceramic Arts that went from the Metropolitan to all important museums of the country. In 1930 she exhibited at the Currier Museum of Manchester, New Hampshire, and at the end of the year at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas. A group of her pieces were purchased by the American Federation of Women's Clubs for its permanent collection. She was awarded the New Orleans Art Association Prize. In January 1941, Nicholson was hired by the WPA to teach ceramics at the Young Men's Hebrew Association (later the New Orleans’ Jewish Community Center). From 1950 to 1960, Nicholson served as their director of ceramics. Leona Fischer Nicholson died on April 30, 1966.

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