Art Pottery Highlights from the Collection of The Henry Ford
22 artifacts in this set
This expert set is brought to you by:
The staff at The Henry Ford
The Rookwood Pottery was founded in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols. She hired a number of talented potters and decorators, making the firm a leader among art potteries by the 1890s. The maker of this vase, Robert Vallentien was one of the artists hired by Nichols in 1880. Here, Vallentien is experimenting with oriental-inspired decoration and an exotic cockatoo placed slightly off-center.
Weller Pottery started business in 1872 selling stoneware jars and earthenware flowerpots. In 1893 they created their first art pottery line and within twenty years became America's largest art pottery maker with dozens of lines representing all of the current tastes. The Louwelsa line, one of Weller's most popular, was made from 1896 to 1924 and featured a myriad of shapes covered with a brown glaze.
This vase was made by the English born potter, Hugh Robertson, during his time at the Dedham pottery in Massachusetts. Robertson was obsessed with recreating the well-known Chinese oxblood glaze, seen on this vase. He spent decades experimenting and perfecting the glaze, first at his family's Chelsea Keramic Art Works and later at Dedham.
A new kiln in the "Revelation" line, produced by Horace J. Caulkins' Detroit-based company, allowed ceramicists to create pottery with underglaze decoration in their own studios. Beginning in 1901, artist Mary Chase Perry, who had helped develop the kiln, made this vase to demonstrate its potential. Perry and Caulkins would go on to form Detroit's renowned Pewabic Pottery.
The Weller pottery, located in Zanesville, Ohio, was America's largest art pottery maker in the early 20th century. The Sicard line, produced from 1902 to 1907 and named after its creator, French artist Jacques Sicard, is considered Weller's most beautiful. The metallic, iridescent glaze created by Sicard was expensive to make. Sicard stayed at Weller for five years and returned to France in 1907, taking the glaze formula with him.
Charles Binns, the maker of this vase served as the first director of ceramics at the renowned Alfred University in New York state. Primarily working with functional objects, Binns argued that the potter should create unique works of art, from start to finish. Over a thirty-year career he trained the early leaders in what is now known as the studio ceramics movement.
Tile (Object genre)
The Grueby Faience Company was based in Revere, Massachusetts, and specialized in matte finish pottery and tiles. They were known for their unique cucumber green colored vases. This tile was intended to part of a larger composition, perhaps lining a fireplace, where the turtles would follow in a line from head to tail.
Teco Pottery was a major provider of mid-price-level decorative ceramics for the home in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Because many of the shapes were based on architectural forms, Teco was the preferred line of ceramics of the Prairie School architects, including Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, who designed a piece for the firm.
The imagery of live oaks with moss is typical of the production of the Newcomb College Pottery. The Newcomb College Pottery, based in New Orleans, trained young women in the art of painting decorative pottery as a pastime. The pots were made by men and supplied to the female students. Each student could decorate and sell their pieces, as long as they gained faculty approval.
The Roseville Pottery was one of the three major Ohio art potteries along with Rookwood and Weller. Like Weller, it was located near Zanesville in southeastern Ohio. Roseville, like the other art potteries produced many lines of art pottery. This piece represents the Mostique line, introduced around 1916, showcasing its version of the Arts and Crafts style.
Jugtown Pottery was founded by artists Jacques and Juliana Busbee who attempted to save local craft traditions in North Carolina. The Busbees hired local potters and made the wares available at a shop in Greenwich Village, New York. This rough, salt glaze candlestick is typical of their early pieces, appearing very much like a survivor of the 18th or 19th century.
The Rookwood Pottery was founded in Cincinnati in 1880 by Maria Longworth Nichols. She hired a number of talented potters and decorators, making the firm a leader among art potteries by the 1890s. The vellum technique was invented in 1904 and consists of a light-colored matte background with floral or landscape decoration.
The Cowan Pottery near Cleveland, Ohio, produced exceptional artistic and commercial wares during its heyday, from 1920 to 1931. Hiring the best local talent, the pottery produced pieces influenced by the Arts and Crafts and Art Deco styles. This plate shows the classical myth of Apollo and Daphne, at the point where the wood nymph Daphne transforms into a laurel tree.
Detroit’s Pewabic Pottery was founded by artist Mary Chase Perry in 1903 as part of the American Arts and Crafts movement. The pottery is known for the iridescent glazes on its tiles and vessels. This vase was carefully modeled to represent naturalistic leaves in high relief. The green matte glaze is typical of Pewabic and Arts and Crafts pottery in general.
Knife Rest, 1929-1943
This crouching rabbit is iconic to the wares made by the Dedham Pottery. In business from 1896 to 1943, Dedham Pottery produced high-fired stone-ware characterized by a controlled and fine crackle glaze with thick cobalt blue border designs. Influenced by Arts and Crafts styles, these popular serving pieces primarily featured rabbits, but others imagery included elephants, dolphins, polar bears, chicks, swans, turtles, and ducks.
"Lorelei" Vase, 1930-1950
The Van Briggle Pottery was among the most important and longest lasting art potteries. Founder Artus Van Briggle worked for the Rookwood Pottery before opening his own firm in Colorado Springs. He started work on the Lorelai Vase at Rookwood, but first cast it in Colorado. Here, the sensuous figure emerges from the vase, recalling Van Briggle's interest in the European Art Nouveau and American Arts and Crafts Movements.
Vase, Used on the Yacht "Onika", 1935-1940
Waylande Gregory was known for his large-scale ceramic sculptures. The most famous, the Fountain of the Atom, was produced for the 1939 New York World's Fair. In the late 1930s he began producing decorative table wares for high-end department stores. This pair of vases was used by Edsel and Eleanor Ford on their yacht, Onika.
The Roselane Pottery was founded in Pasadena, California, in 1938. Like most California based potteries, Roselane specialized in pieces complementing contemporary-styled interiors, known today as "mid-century modern". Their product line was diverse, especially in the late 1940s and 1950s, when they produced vases, wall pockets, candlesticks, as well as serving wares such as this bowl.
Vase, circa 1941
The Red Wing Company was famous for its stoneware crocks and jugs beginning in the 19th century and continuing throughout much of the 20th century. In 1938, they started a decorative art pottery line. This vase with a deer in relief was typical of the kinds of pieces made for middle class homes in the 1940s and 1950s.
Bowl by Edwin and Mary Scheier, 1970-1990
Mary and Edwin Scheier are known for their finely thrown and aesthetically pleasing functional vessels. Both were self-taught studio potters who constantly refined their skills through study of traditional pottery techniques. Their early work was influenced by Appalachian pottery, while their later work, such as this piece, was informed by study of the traditional pottery of Oaxaca, Mexico.
Vessel by Toshiko Takaezu, 1980-1990
Born in Hawaii, Toshiko Takaezu studied ceramics at the renowned Cranbrook Academy of Art where she learned to treat her pieces as abstract sculptures. She went on to found the ceramics program at Princeton University, her base from 1967 to 1992. She was one of the first studio ceramic artists to view her work as fine art as opposed to craft.
Bowl by Rick DeVore, 1990-2000
Richard DeVore concentrated on simple vessel forms, tall vases, shallow dishes and low bowls. They were influenced by the pottery of ancient American Anasazi and Mimbres Indians in form and coloring. The interior of these vessels was the primary focal point. Here, DeVore creates a form reminiscent of abstract sculpture.