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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Colorado Springs area To Do Today calendar for Sept. 12, 2015Colorado Springs Gazette, September 12th
The Historic Van Briggle Pottery Festival - 9 a.m.-3 p.m., to benefit Women's Educational Society scholarships at Colorado College, 1125 Glen Ave. Advance tickets: tinyurl.com/nt8bwqg. A Toast to the Flag - Color Guard, live music, guest speakers and...Read more
Colorado Springs area attraction events starting Sept. 11, 2015Colorado Springs Gazette, September 11th
The Historic Van Briggle Pottery Festival - 9 a.m.-3 p.m., 1125 Glen Ave., $10. Advance tickets: tinyurl.com/nt8bwqg. See story on Page 9. Print a $3 Coupon for Probiotic Pearls™. SATURDAY AND SUNDAY. Pikes Peak World Cup Downhill Skateboard Race ...Read more
Colorado Springs festival highlights Van Briggle potteryColorado Springs Gazette, September 10th
Artus Van Briggle was a potter from Ohio who moved to the Springs in 1899 hoping the dry air would heal his tuberculosis. He worked in the basement chemistry lab at Colorado College, where he was also director of the art department and perfected an old...Read more
Must See Must Do: 13 best bets for fun in and around Colorado Springs this weekendColorado Springs Gazette, September 10th
Colorado Springs festival highlights Van Briggle pottery. Details here. - Three of Colorado Springs' best organists at Chamber Orchestra of the Springs opener. Details here. - Ready to don a kilt, grab a bagpipe and head for the high country this weekend?...Read more
Van Briggle Pottery Festival PreviewFOX21News.com, September 9th
Known as “the pottery,” the building was designed by Dutch architect Nicholas Van den Arend for Van Briggle's wife, Anne. It was completed in 1908 and stood as a tribute to her husband, who died in Colorado Springs at age 35 in 1904. Today this...Read more
Salvaging our artistic rootsColorado Springs Independent, September 8th
To the best of my knowledge, this is the only such installation in Colorado Springs, except for the magnificent Van Briggle tiles on the pottery building at 1125 Glen Ave. and on the former YWCA Building at Kiowa Street and Nevada Avenue. In 1936...Read more
We were a small Texas town that banned fracking — then the oil industry ...Salon, September 6th
A van followed us down the street. “It's the homies,” Maggie said, referring to a group of young friends and fracking activists who had come out to help us. They parked across the street from us and nodded nonchalantly in our direction. It was 6:30 a.m...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