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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Mount Dora Christmas Tour of Homes features homes filled with artOrlando Sentinel, December 5th
Glenda and Randall Sumner's house in the Country Club of Mount Dora is also full of art and fine crafts. She collects Roseville pottery, known for its roots in the Arts and Craft movement, and Van Briggle pottery, known for its nod to the Art Nouveau...Read more
Wakefield Museum has something for everyoneClay Center Dispatch, December 5th
Special collections will be on display during the Bazaar -- featured this year are turn-of-the-century sewing items and early 1900 through present day Van Briggle pottery pieces. Christmas music by local musicians will play throughout the day. Among...Read more
Municipal Woman's Club house tour set for SaturdayEllwood City Ledger, December 3rd
Things to see include a collection of Mission clocks and monk-themed items including mugs, painting and a bronze and a pottery collection with pieces by Van Briggle, Ibsen, and numerous individual artisans. Custozzo. The home of Dean and Valerie ...Read more
Northeast Kansas happeningsTopeka Capital Journal, November 30th
Other events. HOLIDAY BAZAAR — Wakefield Museum's annual Christmas Bazaar, featuring handcrafted and white elephant items, baked goods, music and displays of antique sewing items and Van Briggle pottery, will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec...Read more