Archives for May 2011

The Weller Flemish Art Pottery

Weller Pottery just might be in the top three lines of American art pottery when it comes to versatility. There are more than 85 lines in what’s referred to as the “middle period”, not to mention the more than 20 lines in the early period. With so many variations, one can imagine the creativity necessary to ensure a unique look and feel to each one. Weller Pottery is proof it can be done. In recent years, there’s been a healthy interest in this Zanesville pottery and as a result of that demand, the price to own it has grown as well. Anyone who appreciates art pottery surely has their favorite Weller line. This week, we take a look at the Weller Flemish.

Rudolph Lorber was the designer who introduced this eclectic line in the early 1900s. It was produced until around 1928 and is recognized by its outdoor themes, such as fishermen, birds, leaves and flowers. This just might be one of the most versatile Weller lines. There are no consistent colors, unlike many other pottery companies; to the untrained collector, it might be a bit difficult to differentiate from other Weller Pottery pieces.

For instance, a Flemish jardiniere and pedestal might have an ivory background that’s contrasted with deep pink four-petal flowers or it could very well have shades of red and blue in the form of birds and Zinia-type flowers in the background. The glazes are remarkable and the textures provide a dimension that’s not always a part of other Weller lines.

There are several umbrella stands in this particular collection, each with its own distinct presentation, including one that has ridges and elegant swirls with tiny red roses that set off the decorative efforts for a more feminine look, though is unmarked. Still another umbrella stand reveals a series of graceful women, each in an ivory dress, and holding vines of purple flowers (wisteria, perhaps?). The raised elements add a certain depth and the glazing is semi-matte; this one happens to be marked.

If you come across a Weller Flemish piece, odds are, your going to be drawn to it. Each is beautiful in its own way and definitely worth owning.

A Look at Fulper Pottery

Founded in 1805 by the Fulper brothers, this New Jersey pottery has remained synonymous with an evolving northeastern pottery company. What began as a drain tile manufacturing company quickly evolved into a pottery company known for its Fulper doll heads, beautiful book ends and multicolored and multi-shaped vases, statues and even kitchenware.

Unlike other pottery companies, Fulper Pottery consistently, from the beginning, marked its wares with back stamping of an oval trademark and pattern name. Contracts began rolling in once the company transitioned to an art pottery company and soon, thousands of Fulper Pottery pieces were being sold around the nation.

Fulper Pottery, though, didn’t have an easy road to its ultimate success. In September, 1929, the Flemington, New Jersey Plant burned in its entirety. It was a blow to the town; Fulper Pottery was one of the largest employers in the entire region. Many employees were able to transfer to the Trenton, New Jersey plant. It was then that Fulper Pottery became Stangl Pottery. Then, in 1940, Stangl released what is described as a “fine grade” of hand crafted and hand decorated dinnerware. Each collection incorporated lovely designs; though there was one more element that really set these designs apart. Stangl Pottery introduced for the first time a revolutionary carving process. Using special tools, the designers carefully carved those subtle those distinctive designs that culminated into beautifully decorated finished pieces.

By the time the 1950s rolled around, Stangl released its Antique Gold pottery line. These wares are easily identified via their 22 karat gold hand brushed embellishments. It’s absolutely stunning against the matte green glaze. So popular was the line, that soon Granada Gold, with 22 karat gold brushed over a striking turquoise finish and Black Gold, which is painted over a handsome and inky black finish were released. The final piece in this unique line was the Platina, which is hand brushed with platinum for a brushed silver finish.

See more of the Fulper/Stangl pottery on Just Art Pottery’s Fulper Pottery page.

Rookwood Pottery Finds

Fans of Rookwood Pottery might not agree on which particular lines rein supreme, but they do agree that Rookwood Pottery as a whole is a remarkable collection and a testament to the true artists who defined the pottery line. Take a look at some of the exciting Rookwood Pottery pieces we’ve recently added:

The Rookwood Pottery 1887 Dull Finish Vase 238 Bookprinter is a rare find and is in mint condition. The low gloss finish is perfect against the beautiful golds and blues is simply stunning. Note the gold ribbed banding around the smallest dimension of the neck and the unobtrusive blue flowering and vining. The vase is 11” tall and measures 4 1/4” at its widest point. Truly, this is a beautiful addition to any Rookwood Pottery collection.

Another rare find is the Rookwood Pottery 1914 Baldwin Piano Tray. This detailed piece combines shades of browns and offers both a sleek and textured feel. It’s an advertising tray that was produced for Baldwin Piano. It’s in excellent condition with two small pinhead-sized nicks to the piano. It’s marked “Baldwin” on the tray and on the bottom, you’ll find the Rookwood Pottery logo, the date and “THE BALDWIN PIANO CO. CINCINATTI USA”. It measures 1 3/4” height and 5” wide. It’s another great addition for your Rookwood Pottery collection.

For many of us, the more detailed a piece is, the more extraordinary it becomes. That’s the case with the Rookwood Pottery 1914 Scenic Vellum vase. The detailing in the tree trunks and limbs, along with the hues of gold found in the bushes and ground scenes add to the beauty of this vase. With an easy light pink background, along with a bluish-gray backdrop in the artist’s efforts, this is an easy color combination that flows seamlessly throughout the vase. The crazing in the glaze can be seen in the photos and for many of us, that certainly adds to the texture and personality of the piece as a whole. It measures 11” high and is 5 3/4” wide. Another beauty, courtesy of Rookwood Pottery.

These are just a few of the wonderful Rookwood Pottery pieces you’ll find. Browse them all and as always, keep checking back as we have new additions quite often.

A Loss to the Newcomb Pottery Family

Dr. Jessie J. Poesch, considered one of the most renowned scholars of Newcomb Pottery, passed away April 23, 2011 at the age of 88 in New Orleans. It’s being reported by The Times Picayune that her death was a result of surgery complications. Referring to her as a “scholar blessed with unflagging curiosity”, William Ferris, a long time friend of Dr. Poesch, said “…she pioneered the field of Southern decorative arts”. Those closest to her acknowledge her impressive education and ability to speak easily on any number of topics and quickly say it’s her genuine personality and distinct kindness people will remember most. “Brilliance and personal warmth don’t always go together, but she combined them to a rare degree”.

Dr. Poesch arrived at Tulane in 1963 and was already considered a pioneer and historian of American art and architecture. The Iowan native graduated from Antioch College in Ohio, at which time she began work with the American Friends Service Committee in France and Germany following World War II. Still dedicated to the importance of education, Dr. Poesch, upon her arrival back to the states, then received her M.A. from the University of Delaware, followed by her Ph.D from the University of Pennsylvania.

With her passion for American art pottery, Dr. Poesch made the decision to come south, where she taught History of Art at Newcomb College Art Department, part of Tulane University. It’s said she trained hundreds of students while there and even found time to chair the department between 1972 and 1977. In 1986, she was named to the Maxine and ford Graham Chair. Her official retirement in 1992 lent to an endowed art professorship that was established in her honor that same year.

Those who knew her say retirement was nothing but a word as she continued to move forward in her volunteer and research efforts. Sally Main, an author who collaborated with Dr. Poesch in 2003 as they penned a book on Newcomb Pottery, said, “She had other things to say”. And indeed she did.

Dr. Poesch will continue to live on in the hearts of those who knew and loved her. Her death is a loss to the entire Newcomb Pottery family.