Monday, January 24, 2011

V is for Van Briggle

Van Briggle Pottery is considered the oldest continuously operating Art Pottery in the United States. Begun in 1901 in Colorado by Artus and Anne Van Briggle, it had quite the impact on the Art Nouveau movement at the time. Artus Van Briggle, born in 1869, was introduced to painting at an early age by his artist parents. At the age of 17, he decorated china dolls in Cincinnati, OH, and later took a job at Rookwood Pottery where he excelled at hand painting original designs. Maria Storer, founder of Rookwood, was so impressed with Artus' talent she sent him to Paris, France to study art at L'Academie Julian. This exposed him to numerous artistic styles and he became enamored with matte glazes of the Chinese Ming Dynasty. This was also where he met his future wife, Anne Lawrence Gregory, also an accomplished artist. The couple moved back to Ohio with Artus resuming work at Rookwood. In 1899 due to a bout with tuberculosis, they moved to the therapeutic, drier air of Colorado Springs, Colorado while continuing to experiment on pottery glazes. Artus perfected a satiny matte glaze akin to those he loved in Paris and opened Van Briggle Pottery. He and Anne created countless designs in the Art Nouveau style until his untimely death in 1904, at the age of 35. Anne continued the pottery business adding countless designs. She remarried in 1908 and moved to Denver in 1910 until her death in 1929. The property in Colorado Springs was leased and then sold several times. Its current owner and chief designer is Craig A. Stevenson.

The early work of Van Briggle pottery - through the 1920's - are most sought after pieces of art. The lovely matte finish is almost powdery soft to the touch with colors ranging from turquoise blue, maroon, green and yellow. Couple this with the tragic love story of two very talented artists and you have really something to admire and cherish. Pieces of Van Briggle Pottery display that spectacular signature blue color as modern today as it was 100 years ago. Enjoy!


StephanieCherrise said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. It's beautiful pottery.

Janie said...

Beautiful... I Love them!

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