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 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.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Gouda Design

Gouda Design

Stuart Lonsdale and Kim Lindley's excellent tribute to and reference on Gouda Dutch Art Pottery and Delftware. The … [read review or visit site]

Modernism

Modernism

This archived overview produced by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts offers thumbnail sketches of the design moveme… [read review or visit site]

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Cowan Pottery Museum Associates

Dedicated to raising awareness of the ceramic art work of R. Guy Cowan and his Cowan Pottery Studio in northeastern… [read review or visit site]

Chicago Silver

Chicago Silver

Paul Somerson's incredible reference on handwrought metalwork from the American Arts and Crafts movement of the ear… [read review or visit site]

1910 Metal

1910 Metal

A detailed tribute to the lesser-known artistic metalwork craftsmen of the Arts and Crafts movement. In addition t… [read review or visit site]

The Pottery Studio

The Pottery Studio

This 7,000-plus page site lives up to its self-billing as a 'knowledge base' with examples of work from all major a… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

'despondency' Van Briggle Vase Large 17.5"Early Van Briggle Turquoise Glaze Vase,Van Briggle, Colo. Springs Matt Blue Mug, 5"Van Briggle Pottery Matte Green 3" Pot 1907Beautiful Mulberry Blue Glaze Van Briggle Art Nouveau Lorelei Art Pottery Vase Antique 1920s Van Briggle Art Pottery Bowl ~ Ming Turquoise Larger SizeVintage Van Briggle Pottery Vase - Colorado Springs Shades Of Blue 5 3/4" High Van Briggle Maiden Bowl MakerPair Vintage Van Briggle Pottery 3 Footed LampsVintage Van Briggle Pottery Lamp-damsel Of Damascus-blue-no Shade-vg-nrVintage Van Briggle Small Blue Pitcher Pretty Green Van Briggle Oak Leaf - Acorn Bowl? 2 Vintage Van Briggle Pottery Turquoise Vases-vg-nrVan Briggle Blue Swan Figurine Colorado Springs 3 1/2" Tall Near Mint ConditionVan Briggle Pottery Bowl #589 Mulberry Glaze 1920's Mark Excellent Shape !Pair Van Briggle Big Buffalo Indian Head Wall PlaquesVan Briggle Textured Glaze Pitcher Signed Jr(jim Reddinger)Pretty Black White Drip Van Briggle Bowl? Van Briggle Pottery Vase #645 Mountain Crag Craig Brown Great Shape 4.75"Signed Van Briggle Matte Glaze Pot Marked ViPair Of Van Briggle Pottery Green And Brown Drip Glaze MugsHeavy Small Old Looking Unmarked Pottery Vase Vintage Van Briggle 6.5" Wide Plate Ming TurquoiseVanbriggle 4 3/4" Turquoise Glaze Wheel Thrown Bowl Van Biggle Signed Turquoise Anemone Pottery VaseVan Briggle Eames Era Cabinet Piece Signed Jr(jim Reddinger)Small Van Briggle Drip Glaze Pitcher Signed Jr(jim Reddinger)Vintage Van Briggle Pottery 5" Blue VaseVintage Van Briggle Candle Holders-pair-tulipsAnna Van Briggle Drip Glaze PitcherPair Vintage Van Briggle Lamp Shades Butterflies Whip Stitched Needs Lots Of TlcVan Briggle Bud Vase7 Inch Tall Van Briggle Turquoise Vase Colorado Springs Colorado No DamageRare Arts Crafts Van Briggle Mulberry Grapes Vines Leaves Twisted Pottery VaseRare Vintage Maple Leaf Decorative Dish Anna Van Briggle Style