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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Recent News: Van Briggle Pottery
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Evans Nakashima Bertoia Rhead Tagliapietra and Chihuly among Highlights of ...News-Antique.com (press release), May 13th
20th C. furniture and decorative objects: Van Briggle, Marblehead, Newcomb College, Teco, Rookwood, Gustav Stickley, Liberty & Co., Martin Brothers, Rorstrand, Tiffany Studios, Steuben, Vladimir Kagan, Edward Wormley, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, Harvey ...Read more
Creative Class: Jen Trenbeath at Grandma's BasementBeaumont Enterprise (blog), May 1st
Leslie Venable, left, talks with Brenda Strong, right rear, and Deola Ardoin, right front, at Grandma's Basement on Thursday. Grandma's Basement on Calder Avenue hosted a Ladies Night event on Thursday evening. Owner Jen Trenbeath said the event was ...Read more
Side Streets: Technology innovation campus will fit nicely at historic ...Colorado Springs Gazette, March 8th
A workman sweeps a floor of original tiles of the Santa Fe Railroad Depot on Tuesday; Framed historical photos are framed by beautiful Van Briggle tiles at the Santa Fe Railroad Depot; The Santa Fe Railroad Passenger Depot, built in 1917 will be...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
Photo - The Van Briggle Pottery retail store on South Tejon Street has been closed for + caption The Van Briggle Pottery retail store on South Tejon Street has been closed for several months. The current owners plan to put the famed Colorado Springs...Read more
Van Briggle Pottery, a Springs institution, for saleColorado Springs Gazette, December 1st
Craig Stevenson, who along with brother Jeffrey Stevenson and sister Kendra Stevenson Rodriguez inherited Van Briggle after their mother's death last year, said they expect to sell the business over the next two or three months. Its retail location...Read more
Beer to Van BriggleColorado Springs Independent, September 29th
The spot: the historic Midland Terminal Railroad Roundhouse at 600 S. 21st St., former longtime home of Van Briggle Art Pottery. The Roundhouse, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979, is one of the Springs' signature ...Read more
Van Briggle's Bertha Stevenson, 76, remembered for passionsColorado Springs Gazette, September 27th
The Van Briggle Pottery was founded in 1901 by Artus Van Briggle and produced a number of stunning Art Nouveau designs that won its founder fame in the world of fine arts. When Van Briggle died in 1904 from tuberculosis the business went through a long ...Read more