Doyle Lane was a master craftsman, a true artist with an enormous talent matched only by his technical skills. Born in New Orleans in 1925, Lane moved to Los Angeles in the 1950s and maintained a studio in the El Sereno district. He studied at Los Angeles City College and later attended the University of Southern California. Under the tutelage of designers Glen Lukens, Vivika Heino and F. Carlton Ball, Lane honed his pottery skills at the wheel and in the kiln, crafting beads, pots, stunningly glazed tiles and abstract “clay paintings”. Undeniably tactile and bold, his innovative glazes screamed to be touched. Ranging from volcanic and rugged to glossy and slick, Lane’s artworks are both physical and visual delights.
A committed artist, Lane supported himself through his artwork and technical expertise alone. When a fellow Black student at LACC declared ceramics as “…mainly for white people.” Lane bristled at the limitation. He had a tireless work ethic, spending countless hours in the studio perfecting his technique and using creative business strategies to promote and sell his works. (Lane was known to carry boxes of his “weed pots”—tiny bud vases for holding a single wildflower—to galleries and architectural offices in Los Angeles). These door-to-door ventures paid off, and the artist became popular with architects, completing many large-scale commissions for tile mosaics including works at the Golden State Bank, International Children’s School, Miller Robinson and the Mutual Savings and Loan Association (which was later acquired and installed at the Huntington Library in 2016). Along with public works, Lane exhibited at the Brockman Gallery in Leimert Park, at Ankrum Gallery on La Cienega and in the seminal California Design exhibitions in 1958, 1959 and 1960.
While he was an established and well-regarded figure in West Coast ceramics during his time, it is also undeniable that Lane was not afforded the same opportunities and representation as his white peers. In recent years, his oeuvre has garnered long-overdue and much deserved recognition, and Lane’s expertly crafted works continue to be highly sought-after by private collectors and institutions alike.
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