Van Briggle Pottery was founded in Colorado Springs in 1901 by a husband-and-wife team (well, not technically, since Artus and Anne didn’t marry until 1902) who had been decorators for Rookwood Pottery of Cincinnati. The most prized Van Briggle pieces are pre-1910, with “AA” (for Artus and Anne) incised on their bottoms. Because Van Briggle used molds for its pieces, production was able to continue long after Artus’s death in 1904. The company is still producing classic Van Briggle designs today.
The acclaim accorded Van Briggle was almost instantaneous. The same year he founded his pottery, Van Briggle took first prize at a show in Paris. The Louvre paid a whopping $3,000 for the winning piece of a male nude wrapped around the opening of a vertical vase. Titled “Despondency,” the piece would become one of Van Briggle’s most famous vases.
In fact, Van Briggle is probably best known for its vases. The “Lorelei” vase, also from 1901, is like a female version of “Despondency,” while “Lady of the Lily” from the same year depicts a female nude leaning against an enormous calla lily. Figurative and floral motifs were a mainstay of the company’s visual vocabulary, although the pottery also produced a number of jugs, whose sides were populated by spiders and spider-like decorations.
One of the other hallmarks of Van Briggle was its luscious satin matte glaze. Hues ranged from Turquoise Ming (still produced today) to a maroon glaze called Persian Rose. Van Briggle was also highly regarded for its architectural tile, which decorated fireplace hearths, chimney tops, and wall fountains.
After some ownership changes in the 1910s, Van Briggle regrouped and continued to produce tall and squat Art Nouveau vases with philodendron, iris, and other floral motifs. Animal figurines became an important part of the company’s line, be it as purely decorative objects and modestly functional ones—elephant bookends, especially in pink, were quite popular. And dragonflies, which had captured the fancy of Tiffany, Lalique, and other designers, also graced the sides of Van Briggle vases.
In the 1930s and ’40s, matching oak-leaf-and-acorn candlesticks shared catalog pages with quarter-moon vases, lamp bases with coordinated shades, and seashell planters, which were sold in the postwar years in 8-, 12-, and 16-inch lengths. Another category of Van Briggle pottery from that era was the American Indian ware, which ranged from tall vases crowned by relief heads of stern-looking braves to small objects depicting Hopi maidens.
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Aug. 25, Classified AdsWeekly News Journal, August 24th
Small school desk, 7 large sections purple leaded glass panels, Portable sewing machine, Oak morris recliner, 3 oak washstands with mirrors, 3 wood bookcases, Carnival-Fenton-imperial-Westmorland glass, Roseville-hull-coors-van briggle art pottery...Read more
Early 20th-Century Decorative Arts and Some Mid-century ModernMaine Antique Digest, August 17th
Two phone bidders wanted the cover lot, an early Lorelei vase by Artus Van Briggle, 10¼" high, made in Colorado Springs in 1902. It sold on the phone for $274,000 (est. $35,000/45,000), a record for the form. Rago had sold it in 1988 for $30,000, then...Read more
West Side Neighborhood WatchAkron Leader Publications, August 6th
A Briggle Road resident reported July 19 her ex-boyfriend, also the father of her child, entered her residence without permission and threatened her. She told police she was leaving to go to her father's house and she would seek a protection order from...Read more
Three Days of Unreserved Goods to Auction at Rago's, August 27-29, 2015ArtfixDaily, August 4th
Early 20th c. design pottery by ceramicists George Ohr, Rookwood, Grueby, Saturday Evening Girls, Merrimac, Pewabic, Teco, Van Briggle, North Dakota School of Mines, Fulper; many lots of Ohio pottery including Roseville, and close to 100 lots of Weller ...Read more
Two Red Roses Foundation Acquires Rare Lorelei Vase by Van BriggleArtfixDaily, July 15th
Auctioneer David Rago, foremost expert in American Arts and Crafts pottery and appraiser on the Antique Roadshow, states: "This vase, which bears a signature in Van Briggle's hand, is the only two-color version from 1902, essentially the first multi...Read more
CC Adds 16th Building to State, National Historic RegisterColorado College News, February 18th
Set back from Wood Avenue, the landscape at the Dodge-Hamlin House descends at the rear, providing the property with views of college athletic fields, the Van Briggle Pottery building, Monument Valley, and vistas of Pikes Peak and Rampart Range...Read more
Van Briggle sale now set for 2013Colorado Springs Gazette, December 28th
The famed Van Briggle Pottery in Colorado Springs likely will be put up for sale in late January after the company was never placed on the market this year as planned, president Craig Stevenson said Thursday. In December 2011, Stevenson said the ...Read more
Van Briggle Pottery, a Springs institution, for saleColorado Springs Gazette, December 1st
The family that owns the famed Van Briggle Pottery, one of the oldest businesses in the Colorado Springs area, has put the company up for sale, Van Briggle's president said Thursday. Craig Stevenson, who along with brother Jeffrey Stevenson and sister ...Read more