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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Big-budget production of 'A Christmas Story' goes up at OrdwayMinneapolis Star Tribune, December 4th
The cast has deep talent in the chorus, including Austene Van, Kersten Rodau, Michael Gruber, Julianne Mundale and Tony Vierling. Most will be familiar to Twin Cities audiences, who have seen them at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, the Children's Theatre ...Read more
Annual tour showcases 3 local housesNatchez Democrat, November 29th
The collections include American Indian and African baskets, Roseville and Van Briggle pottery, Fenton and crystal glassware, as well as a variety of wooden items including boxes, bowls and pipes. Highpoint has been the home of Will and Fran Nolan for ...Read more
Come tour wonderful Natchez homesNatchez Democrat, November 27th
Baskets, china, pipes, belt buckles, pottery (Roseville, Van Briggle, salt glaze, crocks, churns, pitchers, authentic reproductions from Greece, Korean Celadon), glassware (Fenton, crystal, American Fostoria, doeskin), German steins and mugs, wooden...Read more
A Weekend of Christmas in Miltonhngnews.com, November 25th
Repeated business trips beginning with a drive from their home in Madison to Chicago inspired Bill Wilson and Ethel Himmel to look for a home in their native state closer to O'Hare. In 1998 they stopped to look at a house on Madison Avenue and happened ...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