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Eccentric Potter George Ohr

Even in the progressive heyday of the American art pottery movement at the turn of the 20th century, the works of Mississippi potter George E. Ohr (1857-1918) were considered avant-garde.

His sculptural handmade pottery – he claimed no two were alike – resembled nothing turned out by his contemporaries. His bohemian behavior and unusual appearance, recorded in a series of mischievous period photographs, earned him the title of “The Mad Potter of Biloxi.”

Petticoat Vase, c. 1899, glazed ceramic, 7¾ in. x 4¾ in. Collection of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Gift of David Whitney in honor of Frank and Berta Gehry.

Eugene Hecht, authority on the potter and a professor of physics, wrote, “Ohr was an incomparable technician, an uncanny colorist, an exquisitely sensual soul, a totally committed, egocentric, eccentric, vulnerable genius who created a body of artistic work that rivals any produced in this country.”

Like many other artists, Ohr’s work was not fully appreciated in his own time. Thousands of unsold pieces remained in storage on family property after his death. The entire collection was purchased by an East Coast dealer in 1972, and only then did the highly manipulated vases and vessels find enthusiastic appreciation and an avid market among art collectors.

Pitcher, c. 1898, glazed ceramic, 5½ in. x 5½ in. Collection of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Gift of the estate of Hollis C. Thompson Jr., in memory of Evelyn Desporte Thompson, Nickie O’Keefe, Tine Lancaster and Annette O’Keefe.

Ohr learned to make pottery as an apprentice to Joseph Meyer and then traveled around the East and Midwest to view the works of other craftsmen. He set up his own pottery in his hometown of Biloxi in 1883 and took a first batch of work to a World’s Fair in nearby New Orleans the following year.

A turning point in his career was a major fire in the town that destroyed his pottery and 10 years’ worth of work in 1894. Ohr quickly rebuilt and the ceramics so admired by collectors today were made between 1895 and around 1907. As the Biloxi Art Pottery, he showed his wares in the Mississippi State Exhibition at the Louisiana Purchase International Exposition of 1904 (St. Louis World’s Fair). The judges awarded him a Silver Medal, but the designs remained too extreme for consumers and nothing in the display was sold.

Vase with in-body twist, c. 1900, glazed ceramic, 6 in. x 3¾ in. Collection of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art.

A comparison of George Ohr’s work with contemporary ceramics made by well-known art potteries such as Rookwood or Grueby reveals the stylistic risks taken by the Biloxi potter. Although in hopes of a sale, he made traditional forms such a vases, pitchers and teapots, his creative mind transformed these familiar shapes. Vases have eccentric looped handles and glazes in shocking reds and greens. Pitchers are crumpled and deformed.

After exploring the infinite possibilities of colored glazes, he later made unglazed works – sometimes in mottled clay – where all the artistry was in the shape. Each work captures a moment of inspiration.

Red and green vase with handles, c. 1898, glazed ceramic, 7¾ in. x 5¼ in. Collection of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Gift of Susan and Roland Samson.

Auction house owner David Rago has written extensively about Ohr’s work, emphasizing “his forms, thrown paper thin and manipulated with twists, crinkles, dimples and folds. Few people could have crafted pots so thin, and no one else thought to alter them in such bizarre ways.”

Double-handled vase, c. 1898, glazed ceramic, 7 3/4in x 5 1/4in. Collection of the Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art. Gift of the estate of Hollis C. Thompson Jr., in memory of Evelyn Desporte Thompson, Nickie O’Keefe, Tine Lancaster and Annette O’Keefe.

Rago says of the market, “The most expensive of Ohr’s pots, and the most desirable to collectors, are those that combine bright, imaginative colors with intense manipulation of form.” The best of George Ohr’s ceramics command prices in the five- to six-figure range.

For more biographical information and images of the potter’s work, the classic reference remains The Mad Potter of Biloxi: The Art & Life of George E. Ohr by Garth Clark, Robert A. Ellison Jr. and Eugene Hecht (Abbeville).

The Meaders family: Southern stoneware innovators

The Meaders family may not have been the first to produce Southern stoneware, but its members were, and still are, among the most influential and imaginative contributors to the genre.

Theirs is a pottery-making story of happenstance. Before the commercial availability of containers made of tin and glass, or the luxurious invention of refrigeration, 19th- and 20th-century potters created valuable vessels for carrying and containing perishables and goods.

Anytime a region’s soil was found to be dense with clay, the area would soon become the site of pottery operations. White County, Georgia, was just such a place. It’s reported that at one point during the 20th century, Mossy Creek, located in southern White County, boasted nearly 100 potters among its residents. Included within those numbers was John Milton Meaders, who founded Meaders Pottery in 1892-93.

Cleater & Billie Meaders Grape and Snake jug, signed on bottom and dated Nov. 18, 1992, applied grape clusters, grape leaves and handles, with curved, open-mouthed snake coiled around the vessel, tobacco-spit glaze, 18½ in. tall by 11 in. wide. Sold for $500. Image courtesy of John Coker, Ltd., and LiveAuctioneers

Various historical accounts indicate the Meaders family turned to potting to augment the income they generated as farmers. The elder Meaders viewed the new pursuit as a way for his six sons to learn a trade that could serve them for years. Apparently, that idea was well received, as five of his sons became potters, including Cheever Meaders. Between 1920 and 1967, Cheever ran Meaders Pottery. Following suit and learning the trade were Cheever’s sons Edwin, Cleater – who ran separate potteries – and Lanier, who carried on the operation of Meaders Pottery. If Lanier’s name sounds familiar, it may be due to the popularity of his unique face jugs.

To learn more about this family of potters, their influence and insights about collecting Meaders stoneware, we turn to John Coker, the principal of John Coker Ltd., an auction house located in eastern Tennessee that has been in operation since 1971. Coker has auctioned fine examples of Southern stoneware on numerous occasions.

Are there pottery-making techniques in the Meaders family lineage that stand out for their unique, efficient or progressive characteristics?

While the Meaderses’ pieces are unique, other makers produce close replicas of face jugs and other creations that originated with the extended Meaders family. Keep in mind that like any business, the customer usually gets what he or she wants. If the need was for a churn, large jug, butter crock or canning crock, the Meaderses, like any other potters, made what was salable. Usually, such utilitarian pots were plain, but the glaze usually tells a collector it is a Meaders piece. After Cheever passed away, some modern methods of turning were employed, as in replacing a mule with a small turning motor for the wheel, but basically, not much changed from the creative standpoint.

Large pottery jug, 17 1/2 in. tall by 9 in. wide, applied handles, signed on the base ‘Lanier Meaders,’ tobacco-spit glaze, sold for $425. Image courtesy John Coker, Ltd. and LiveAuctioneers image

It seems early examples of work by the Meaders family were at the forefront of studies of American folk art and life. How do you think the Meaderses’ contributions helped shape Southern folk art and 20th-century pottery?

Many of the regional potters from western North Carolina, northern Georgia, and eastern Tennessee studied and purchased Meaders family face jugs to see how they were made – what colors were used for glazes, how the eyes were formed, the way broken porcelain ‘teeth’ were inserted, the ways that cigars or tobacco products were used, and the methods by which warts and facial deformities were represented. Also, it was about seeing how the jugs or pots were formed, and from what angle they were made to be viewed. I have seen collections that began with pots made by Lanier’s parents (Cheever and Arie) with a progression through the cousins, as well as other regional makers who were adept at copying the style and adding quirks of their own. Having seen numerous collections where the owners personally met Lanier and his mother, it seems many felt a connection to the Meaders family. Over the years they’d choose to stay in touch with them, as well as acquiring different pots when they found something different enough from what was already in their collection.

A graduated set of lidded canister jars by Arie Meaders featuring a grape-and leaf-motif on bulbous-form bodies, ranging in size from 10¼ in. high by 7½ in. wide to 11½ in. high by 8 in. wide. The set sold for $5,600. Case Antiques Inc. and LiveAuctioneers image

Are face jugs the most desirable Meaders’ items?

The Meaderses were adaptable craftsmen, but the face jugs were probably the best-known and most collected pieces they made. Part of their creations were face jug mugs or big cups with handles, as well as whimsical pieces. These creations include the only [example] of a human head made as a bust but not a jug. It had a large open mouth with broken teeth, a cut on the face sewn up with stitches, bulging eyes, grotesque ears and a glaze that almost looked like something that had crawled out of a grave. The Meader potters were capable of making utilitarian objects, and this specifically included candle holders with a large drip area and a loop handle. Mrs. Meaders also made jelly, jam or sugar bowls, most with lids, that collectors both use and love. The glazed surfaces of these containers are unusual and arresting in appearance. Many have a grainy or slightly rough exterior. They are by no means pretty. Some of the Meaderses’ large pots, crocks or urns are knee-high and above, but these are not normal or usual by any means. They also made milk or beverage pitchers that were somewhere between one-quarter and one-half-gallon capacity. The palette of the glaze on these was close to, if not the same as, the surfaces of the face jugs, but not necessarily made as a match.

 

Lanier Meaders face jug, eyes with bluish-gray dripping glaze, tobacco-spit glaze on vessel, applied ears, open mouth. Sold for $1,800. Image courtesy of John Coker, Ltd., and LiveAuctioneers

How would you describe today’s market for Southern art pottery? Specifically Meaders-made?

This is a market that seems to be consistently going up, with the more unusual pieces bringing larger amounts of money. Lanier is, of course, the choice of most collectors but his father, Cheever, and mother, Arie, as well as his grandfather, John, are collected; with John being the originator of the face jugs in the family. Some of the Dorsey and Craven families of White County, Georgia, made similar pieces that are on occasion confused with Meaders pieces but are older. In addition, the older Brown and J.B. Owens Pottery pieces from North Carolina are close to the Meaders pieces. At auction today, you can expect that the Lanier pieces will generally do better than any of the other makers, but there is an adage among collectors that “odd or weird will always trump good any day.” The pieces that collectors love and are most attracted to are the highly unusual pieces that they have never seen and know they are likely never to see again. Hence, one of the reasons for their strong prices in today’s market.

Folk pottery rooster, cobalt glazed, features pronounced comb and waddles, seven-feather tail, incised signature and ‘5-26-1990’ date under the base, Edwin ‘Nub’ Meaders, 16½ in. tall by 7½ in. long, sold for $275. Jeffrey S. Evans & Associates and LiveAuctioneers image

What advice do you have for people interested in acquiring Meaders pottery? What insights do you have for helping people authenticate Meaders pottery?

The Smithsonian produced a film, “The Meaders Family: North Georgia Potters,” as the inaugural film in its Smithsonian Folklife Study. A DVD of the film is available through the Smithsonian. Plus, there is a collection of Meaders Pottery displayed at the Folk Pottery Museum of Northeast Georgia.

Finally, as Coker stated, time spent studying and becoming familiar with Meaders pottery by attending auctions are helpful would be most helpful in learning more about the South’s most celebrated family of stoneware artisans.

Newcomb Pottery embodies Southern nature

Sometimes from the depths of despair come forth strength, beauty and inspiration. Such is the story of Newcomb Pottery, the American art pottery cultivated within and representative of New Orleans.

The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise was a vocational training program within the art education curriculum of Newcomb College. The program came out of the vision set forth by Josephine Louise Newcomb, the benefactor whose gift founded H. Sophie Newcomb College in 1886. The philanthropist made the donation in memory of her daughter Harriott Sophie Newcomb, who died at the age of 15 from diphtheria, according to information at the Newcomb College Institute site.

Newcomb, as she is quoted as saying, sought to create a place that “would go on year by year doing good. Such a memorial … [remains] better than statues or monuments.”

Art pottery plaque, circa 1918, decorated by Anna Frances Simpson with a landscape design of a moss-laden live oak set before a fence, featuring a matte glaze with blue, green ad pink underglaze, cipher at lower left, decorator’s mark, retaining the original paper label, 6 in. x 10 in. Sold for $8,500 during a November 2014 auction Neal Auction Co. image.

The college made history, becoming the first degree-granting “coordinate college” operating within a university in the United States; in this case Tulane University. It also served as the archetype for future women’s colleges.

Less than a decade after the founding of Newcomb College, the Newcomb Pottery operation came into being, under the direction of a pair of young art educators, Ellsworth Woodward and Mary Given Sheerer.

Drawing on the color and shapes of nature in Louisiana, the student potters and decorators would create utilitarian art pottery with distinctive designs and individuality.

Newcomb Note: During its 45-year existence Newcomb Pottery employed about 90 Newcomb College graduates, and together they produced 70,000 pieces of art pottery.

Not unlike other items attracting attention in the secondary collector market, Newcomb Pottery gained global acclaim at an major exposition, said Miriam Taylor, external affairs manager at Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane University.

Fine art pottery high glaze vase, circa 1907, decorated by Marie de Hoa LeBlanc, featuring a relief-carved landscape of cedar trees, blue, green and mustard yellow underglaze, base marked with Newcomb cipher, decorator’s mark, Joseph Meyer’s potter’s mark, 14 ¼ in. diameter. Sold for $31,00 during a December 2016 auction. Neal Auction Co. image.

“The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise gained international recognition when it received a prestigious bronze medal at Paris’ 1900 Exposition Universelle, a world’s fair that attracted nearly 50 million visitors. The enterprise would go on to win an impressive eight medals during its 45-year history, including a silver medal at the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York, and the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California.

“At the former, Louis Comfort Tiffany invited Newcomb to display their works alongside those of the Tiffany Glass Co., effectively recognizing the New Orleans program as an artistic equal,” added Taylor.

Among the elements of Newcomb Pottery that reflect the obvious influence by the English Arts and Crafts movement is the commitment to handmade design, especially at the turn of the century, and the use of regional materials.

Art pottery vase, circa 1916, decorated by Anna Frances Simpson, featuring pine tree grove design, satin matte glaze with blue and green underglaze, base marked with Newcomb cipher, decorator’s mark, Joseph Meyer’s potter’s mark, 11 ¾ in. x 5 ½ in. Sold for $14,000 during a November 2017 auction. Neal Auction Co. image.

“Each piece that came out of the Newcomb Pottery Enterprise was completely unique and recalled the South’s distinctive natural landscape. Representations of plants and animals — from magnolias and live oaks to crabs and crawfish — appeared on works made of local clays collected in St. Tammany Parish on Lake Pontchartrain’s north shore,” said Taylor. “Early pieces were characterized by simplified flat patterns while later works offered softer, more realistic scenes of nature. During the enterprise’s final years, artists began experimenting with abstract designs that merely suggested environmental elements.”

Newcomb Note: During the period Newcomb Pottery Enterprise was in operation society viewed it as improper for women to throw the pottery, the process of shaping clay on a potter’s wheel. With this, men, including professional potter Joseph Fortune Meyer would throw the pieces, while female artists perfected the underglaze design of the ceramic objects. 

Most objects of Newcomb Pottery bear the potter’s mark, indicators of the clay mixture, and registration marks, as well the mark or monogram of the decorator. Plus, the Newcomb College mark, according to information obtained at www.arts-crafts.com.

Set of five bowl and plates, plate 8 ½ in. diameter and bowl 2 in. x 10 in. Sold for $3,000 during a November 2017 auction. Cottone Auctions image.

Current prices for Newcomb Pottery at auction range from $1,900 to $2,800, with the best pieces commanding $10,000 or more.

Newcomb Note: The Newcomb Art Museum of Tulane includes many examples of this storied art pottery in its collection, and currently features several in the exhibit “Clay in Places,” which is on display through March 24. Admission to the museum is free, and public exhibition tours are offered the second Saturday and the third Thursday of each month. www.newcombartmuseum.tulane.edu.

High glaze chocolate cup and saucer, circa 1909-10, decorated by Anna Frances Simpson, featuring a relief floral decoration, cup 3 1/8 in. x 3 in. x 2 7/8 in. Sold for $1,600 during a September 2017 auction. Crescent City Auction Gallery image.

Although it’s been nearly 80 years since Newcomb Pottery ceased production, the influence and impact of this history-making operation carries on.

“Beyond the creation of more than 70,000 unique works of art, the Newcomb enterprise proved the South’s ability for making significant contributions to the country’s cultural life,” said Taylor. “More importantly, it demonstrated conclusively that women were capable of pursuing paying professional careers outside of their homes, whether in New Orleans or beyond.”

5 Midwestern Companies That Changed the Art Pottery Game

American art pottery’s “golden era” started in the late 1880s and ran through the late 1920s. Today, decorative pottery from that period is highly sought after by collectors.

The movement began in Ohio and quickly spread across the country, spurred by a burgeoning middle class. In a matter of two decades, what had started as a “handmade” industry grew into a mechanized one and ultimately a big industry of national importance.

Ohio boasts the “big three” of american art potteries, which we profile below along with two additional Midwest potteries of importance. Remarkably, two of these potteries are still in operation, more than century after they were founded.

The best of what was produced during the golden era is now priced beyond reach of casual collectors, but production of less-expensive lines was substantial, so there’s plenty of choice for the budget-minded collector, too.

Let’s take a look at five Midwestern pottery companies whose wares are collector favorites.

Rookwood Pottery

Native Americans were often depicted on Rookwood Standard glaze vases. This 13-inch vase dated 1900 was decorated by Grace Young, who also taught portraiture at the Cincinnati Art Academy. This rare vase sold for $29,000 plus the buyer’s premium in November 2013. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Humler & Nolan

Rookwood Pottery Co., is considered by many to be the Cadillac of American art pottery. Maria Longworth Nichols Storer, a daughter of a prominent Cincinnati family, founded the company in 1879. She hired skilled ceramic workers and top decorators who developed many lines of superior art pottery.

Standard, one of Rookwood’s early lines, was often imitated by competitors. It was a brown ware decorated with underglaze slip-painted nature studies, animals and portraits.

Rookwood also produced pottery in the Japonism trend, after Storer invited Japanese artist Kitaro Shirayamadani to come to Cincinnati in 1887 to work for the company.

In 1894, Rookwood introduced three glazes, Iris, a clear colorless glaze; Sea Green, clear with a green tint; and Aerial Blue, clear with a blue tint. The latter glaze was produced for just one year, but Vellum and Sea Green glazes were used for more than a decade.

Vellum, introduced in 1904, presented a matte surface but through which could be seen the slightly frosted-appearing decoration beneath. It was widely used on scenic plaques, which were framed.

Many of the early artware lines were signed by the artist.

Soon after the turn of the 20th century, Rookwood began manufacturing production pieces that relied mainly on molded designs and forms rather than freehand decoration.

In 1902, Rookwood expanded into architectural pottery. Under the direction of William Watts Taylor, this division rapidly gained national and international acclaim. Rookwood tiles were used to create fireplace surrounds in many homes, and on a grander scale, were used in mansions, hotels and public places.

Following a prosperous decade in the 1920s, the company was hit hard by the Great Depression. Art pottery became a low priority for consumers, and architects could no longer afford Rookwood tiles. Rookwood filed for bankruptcy in 1941 and struggled through ownership changes. Herschede Clock Co., purchased Rookwood n 1959 and moved production to Starkville, Mississippi. Production ceased there in 1967.

A physician and Rookwood collector in Michigan owned the company’s assets for many years. In 2006, new ownership revived the company in Cincinnati. Since then it has been producing ceramic pieces, including architectural tile, using Rookwood’s original designs. Some of the pieces are identical, using molds and formulas from the company’s archives; others are new works. Like old Rookwood pottery, all pieces are marked and dated.

 

Weller Pottery

Frenchman Jacques Sicard developed a metallic glaze at Weller Pottery, which led to the short-lived Sicard line. This 32-inch-tall sand jar, possibly from the Weller Theater in Zanesville, Ohio, sold for $14,000 plus buyer’s premium in October 2011. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Rago Arts and Auction Center.

Weller Pottery had a humble beginning, starting out in 1872 in a small cabin with a single beehive kiln in Fultonham, Ohio. In 1882, founder Samuel Augustus Weller (1851-1925) moved the operation to Zanesville, where he recruited many of the foremost names in the business.

Having seen William Long’s Lonhuda ware at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, Weller hired Lonhuda to produce faience-glazed pottery. When Long left after less than a year, Weller renamed the tin-glazed pottery line Louwelsa after his young daughter Louisa. It was made in at least 500 different shapes until 1924.

Weller expanded the company’s art pottery offerings around the turn of the century. From 1895-1904, Charles Babcock Upjohn was Weller’s head designer. He developed many fine artware lines, including Dickens Ware, Eocean and Aurelian.

One of the most famous lines was Dickens Ware II, introduced in 1900. The pieces were sgraffito-decorated with animals, golfers, monks, Indians and scenes from Charles Dickens novels on backgrounds that had characteristically caramel shading to turquoise matte.

In 1903 and 1904, Frederick H. Rhead worked at Weller pottery, developing a Japanese-influenced line whose pieces were decorated with Geisha girls, landscapes and birds. Rhead employed a unique look by applying heavy “slip” through the tiny nozzle of a squeeze bag.

From 1902-1907, Jacques Sicard joined Weller pottery and developed a metallic glaze. Teh Sicardo line went into production in the fall of 1903, but the process was difficult, and only about 30% of the finished pots were marketable. The pottery had a metallic luster in tones of rose, blue, green, or purple, with flowing Art Nouveau patterns developed within the glaze.

A desirable later line was named Hudson, first made in the early 1920s. A semi-matte-glaze ware line, it was beautifully decorated on shaded backgrounds with florals, animals, birds and scenics. Hudson pieces are often signed by the decorators.

Weller discontinued costly artware lines in the 1920s in favor of mass-produced commercial wares. The Great Depression brought a steady decline in sales and by 1948 the pottery was closed.

 

Roseville Pottery

Roseville Della Robbia vase, circa 1905, with Rozane Ware seal and artist’s initials ‘AB,’ 8 1/4 in. x 7 1/4 in. There is no typical Della Robbia pattern, only variations on Frederick H. Rhead’s basic concept. This vase sold for $16,000 plus the buyer’s premium in March 2014. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Rago Arts and Auction Center.

The Roseville Pottery Co. was incorporated in Roseville, Ohio in 1892 with George F. Young as general manager. Buoyed by the success of early utilitarian wares, the company expanded to a new plant in nearby Zanesville. By 1900, Young had controlling interest in the company and had his sights set on entering the highly competitive art pottery market. He hired an artistic designer, Ross C Purdy, who created Rozane, the company’s first art pottery line. It featured dark blended backgrounds with slip-painted underglaze artwork, similar to Rookwood’s Standard glaze.

Roseville’s Rozane Mongol, a high-gloss oxblood red line, won first prize at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

Frederick H. Rhead left Weller Pottery to become art director of Roseville Pottery from 1904 to 1909. He created Roseville’s Della Robbia and Olympic lines and designed or oversaw the Juvenile, Mostique and Pauleo lines. His brother, Harry Rhead, took over as artistic director in 1908 and, in 1915, introduced the popular Donatello line.

Handcrafting had virtually ceased at Roseville by 1908, replaced by mass-production methods.

Frank Ferrell, who was a leading decorator at Weller in the early 1900s, was Roseville’s artistic director from 1917 until 1954. He created many of the company’s most popular lines including Pine Cone, Futura, Falline and Sunflower.

Company sales declined in the postwar era as inexpensive Japanese imports flooded the American market. Also, consumer tastes had changed, and Roseville’s mainstay floral designs started to look old-fashioned as a more modern aesthetic emerged. The company went out of business in 1954, selling the facilities to the Mosaic Tile Co.

 

Pewabic Pottery

Pewabic Pottery molten-glaze vase, 15 in. x 9 in., with impressed Pewabic Detrioit mark. The congregation of the First Unitarian Universalist Church in inner-city Detroit was surprised when their unpretentious piece sold for $15,000 plus the buyer’s premium in May 2016. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and DuMouchelles

Pewabic Pottery may be one of the best-kept secrets in the pottery industry – and the studio is still in operation in Detroit. Mary Chase Perry Stratton (1867-1961) and her neighbor and business parter Horace James Caulkins (1850-1932) formally opened the pottery in a Tudor revival-style building on East Jefferson Avenue in 1907.

Perry named the pottery “Poewabic,” said to be derivative of the Ojibwa, or Chippewa, word wabic, which means metal, or bewabic, which means iron or steel. It specifically refers to the Pewabic copper mine in her hometown of Hancock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Some of the early artware was glazed a simple matte green. Occasionally other colors were added, sometimes in combination to render a drip effect. Later, Perry developed a lustrous crystalline glaze. The body of the ware was highly fired and extremely hard. Shapes were basic, and decorative modeling was in low relief.

While never a big operation, Pewabic Pottery became a major name in the Arts and Crafts movement. Under Mary Stratton’s artistic leadership, Pewabic Pottery employees created lamps, vessels and architectural tiles.

The Griswold Hotel in Detroit ordered one of the first tile commissions, and orders from around the country followed. Pewabic tiles grace notable buildings such as the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

After years of experimenting, in 1909 Stratton discovered an iridescent glaze that established Pewabic as one of the most innovative potteries of its time.

Mary Stratton remained active at Pewabic until her death at age 94. The company continued to operate for five years after her death under the direction of Caulkins’ widow, a former assistant and silent partner.

The private, nonprofit Pewabic Society Inc. was established in 1979. The building and its contents were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1991. Today, Pewabic is Michigan’s only historic pottery.

 

Teco

Matte-green glaze, the color of money, is a favorite shade among Arts and Crafts collectors. Couple it with the organically modeled design by Harold Hals and this 13 1/4-inch Teco brand vase becomes a classic. It sold at auction for $25,000 plus buyer’s premium in February 2013. Image courtesy of LiveAuctioneers archive and Clars Auction Gallery

The American Terra Cotta Tile and Ceramic Co., is famous for Teco artware, another favorite among Arts and Crafts Moment devotees. Founded by William Day Gates in 1881 as Spring Valley Tile Works, it became the country’s first manufacturer of architectural terra cotta. Production at the plant in McHenry County plant outside Chicago consisted of drain tile, brick, chimney tops, finials, urns and other fireproof building materials.

Gates used the facilities to experiment with clays and glazes in an effort to design a line of art pottery which led to the introduction of Teco Pottery (TErra COtta) in 1899.

The smooth, micro-crystalline, matte “Teco green” glaze of Teco Art Pottery was developed independently and was not an attempt to copy the famous Grueby green of the Grueby Pottery Co., in Boston.

Teco pottery emphasized line and color rather than elaborate decoration. While most of the 500 shapes created by 1911 were the product of Gates’ efforts, many of the remaining Teco designs were the work of several Chicago architects who were involved in the Prairie School style as expressed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Teco pottery became closely linked with this style, which emphasized simplicity of design and discipline in the use of ornament.

A victim of the Great Depression, Teco production ceased a short time after the stock market crash of 1929.

 

 

6 Decorative Art Pieces To Prettify Your Home

An intersection of beauty and function is displayed in this week’s collection of decorative art pieces. Among this collection are stellar glass and pottery works, complemented by a few select paintings. Take a look at these six highlights from the collection.

Czech Bohemian Cabochon Glasses

A Czech Bohemian glass decanter and cocktail four matching glasses provide an elegant note to an intimate setting.

Five-piece Czech Bohemian cabochon art glass decanter and glasses, circa 1940. Estimate: $700-$800. Jasper52 image

 

Rollin Karg Glass Sculpture

Rollin Karg is a renowned glass artisan from Kansas, who designs and creates spectacular sculptural pieces from molten glass, usually shaped in a free-form, asymmetrical manner.

Rollin Karg glass sculpture, 1999, 16in x 11in. wide. Estimate: $700-$800. Jasper52 image

 

Fostoria Heirloom Console Set

A Fostoria glass console set in the Heirloom pattern consists of a centerpiece and two candleholders. The 1950s set in pink opalescent is estimated at $150-$200.

Fostoria Heirloom console set, opalescent glass, 1950s. Estimate: $150-$200. Jasper52 image

 

Hutschenreuther Vase

An 8-inch bulbous porcelain vase designed by Hans Achtziger (1918-2003) for Hutshenreuther, the Germany company known for its fine quality dinnerware and figurines, has a distinct mid-century modern motif (est. $300-$400).

Hutshenreuther porcelain vase by Hans Achtziger, Germany, 8 in high. Estimate $300-$400. Jasper52 image

 

After Vassily Kandinsky Oil on Canvas

A large and colorful oil on canvas painting after Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky should bring $700-$800.

After Wassily Kandinsky, hand-painted oil on canvas, ‘Spitzeen em Bogen,’ 39in x 29in. Estimate: $700-$800. Jasper52 image

 

After Van Gogh Oil on Canvas

The Old Mill, an oil on canvas painting after Van Gogh, is expected to top $1,000.

After Van Gogh, oil on canvas, ‘The Old Mill,’ 24in x 29in. Estimate: $1,000-$1,200. Jasper52 image

 

View the full collection of unique objects. You’re sure to find something to delight your home and collection.