Newcomb College Art Pottery Exhibition

The Columbus Museum recently announced it will be displaying “The Beautiful and Practical: Newcomb College and American Art Pottery” exhibition. It will displayed from now until January 6, 2013. What’s so exciting is there are more than 80 selections of beautiful glazed or otherwise decorated American art pottery. While the “star” of the exhibit will be Newcomb College pottery, there will also be several metalware selections, textiles and other pottery exclusive to Louisiana. In fact, all of the pieces are from Southern collections and many of them are from the Louisiana State University Museum of Art. If you’ve not seen any of these displays before, this is a perfect opportunity if you’re going to be in or near Georgia over the holidays.

A few of those notable art pottery companies that will be represented include Cambridge Pottery, Fulper Pottery, Marblehead, Rookwood Pottery and one of our own favorites, Van Briggle Pottery. You can also expect to see several Weller pottery pieces as well. This is important for the Columbus Museum because it provides a perfect opportunity to show its own proud Newcomb Pottery vase, which was completed by the esteemed master decorator Sabina Wells.

American art pottery, especially those pieces from the turn of the century and even well into the 20th century, are handmade creations, ensuring no two are ever alike. The artists who played such pivotal roles in this amazing sector of American art were always very talented and most certainly in demand. What we’re left with here today is results of their tremendous talents.

While we typically collect art pottery for the beauty of each piece, they were often created to be functional as well. In some instances, the artistry was often a second consideration to the utilitarian purposes. Eventually, though, a shift began that resulted in a focus on the visual appeal. Lucky for us, there are still many collections and pieces for us to enjoy strictly for that visual appeal.

Of course, Newcomb College Pottery was born of a way to provide women in the southern region the opportunity to secure a trade. It was natural their jobs would be created in the arts. A lot has changed, but one thing remains true: women love a beautifully put together home and that was the draw for those seeking to learn more about opportunities in art pottery. Newcomb Pottery was founded in the 1890s at Sophie Newcomb College in New Orleans and remained in business from 1895 to 1940. For many years, it was the only educational facility for these types of trades in the entire southern U.S.

About Columbus Museum:

As an American art and regional history museum, and the second largest general museum in Georgia, the Columbus Museum offers a diverse collection to the public. The Museum houses over 14,000 artifacts and objects that tell the story of the Chattahoochee River Valley’s development, an American fine art collection from a host of renowned American artists, a hands-on gallery for children, the finest traveling exhibitions from across the U.S., and the historic Bradley Olmsted Garden.

For more information about the Columbus Museum or the Newcomb College and American Art Pottery exhibition, please visit

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.

Newcomb Pottery Collection for Sale at Auction

Just Art Pottery Auctions is pleased to have the opportunity to sell a nice five piece collection of Newcomb College pottery that is fresh to the market from an estate collection from

Newcomb Collection for Sale at Auction

Louisiana.  The collection includes three nice vases, a low bowl and a decorative creamer.   The Newcomb pieces are being offered for auction in the sale ending March 6, 2011.  Online bidding is currently available through as well as

All five pieces are in mint condition without damage or repair and are being sold with no reserve.   The collection offers examples from three of Newcomb’s more recognized decorators including Sadie Irvine, Anna Frances Simpson, and Henrietta Bailey.

Each piece of Newcomb pottery is hand decorated and artist initialed and represents the true sense of the arts and crafts movement.  Most collectors consider Newcomb an investment quality art pottery.

Newcomb Pottery was unofficially started in 1894 when Mary Sheerer was brought from Cincinnati to teach pottery and china decoration at Newcomb College.   The first public exhibition and sale of art pottery produced at the College occurred in 1896.  Over the fifty years the Pottery was in existence over 60,000 hand decorated pieces of Newcomb were produced.

To bid on the Newcomb collection or 150 additional quality pieces of American art pottery go to or

For more information on Just Art Pottery Auctions, or if you would like to inquire about consignments for upcoming auctions, please visit or contact Greg Myroth at

Incredible Newcomb Pottery Find

As our readers know, we always love a great story that involves an unlikely find in an even more unlikely place.  This time, the find is a beautiful Newcomb Pottery vase found in at a Pennsylvania yard sale.  And the cost for this lovely Newcomb piece?  A single dollar.  That’s right – Joseph sent his story and the photos you see here and while we were more than a little impressed, once we read how much he paid for it, we knew he’d just made a very wise investment.

The Newcomb vase is marked with the “NC” mark and the initials “JM”, which we know was Joseph Meyer.  The pictures, as you can see, reveal a those traditional blues Newcomb Pottery is so well known for and the glossy glaze really allows the hues to shine through. 

Newcomb 001 As you may know, Newcomb Pottery began not so much as a business venture, but rather, an educational effort of introducing functional, yet visually pleasing, art pottery to a society that appreciated the beauty in all things art related, but that also needed a way to acquire it in an affordable manner.  Enter the Newcomb College Pottery experiment that began in an unused building on the New Orleans campus of Tulane University.

Another interesting fact about Newcomb Pottery is that in the beginning, all of the artists were women born in the south.  During this time at the turn of the century, it’s likely these women would have led “cookie cutter” lives; instead, they were afforded the opportunity to allow their artistic abilities to shine through.  The result was a self-supported academic program that financially carried itself as the pottery was sold to the public and the money then reinvested back into the program.

What we’re left with today are those incredible finds, such as the one Joseph found, that symbolize the loving care and artist’s patience that each Newcomb Pottery piece reveals.

**Note:  We received a correction from a loyal reader on those early Newcomb Pottery days:

The Newcomb College Pottery was launched c.1894 in the art department of the college–not in an unused building at Tulane U., which was several miles away. As the enterprise grew, the college built a handsome building to house the pottery studios and sales showroom. It was not until c.1920 that Newcomb College move to its uptown campus adjacent to Tulane.

Thanks for the correction and keep those comments coming!  


Newcomb Pottery Exhibition – Tulane University

New Fans of Newcomb Pottery have an opportunity to visit the Newcomb Art Gallery, located on the Tulane University campus, for what’s sure to be an incredible viewing of pieces from the gallery’s permanent collection.  The exhibition is available between August 24 and October 17, 2010.  Here are a few things you’ll discover:

The recent acquisition of a large 1902 vase, complete with stylized rock purslane motif, will be on display within the Angela Gregory Gallery.  Another rare opportunity is presented with the showing of the Hollyhock vase.  You’ll remember this vase, decorated in 1900 by Ada Lonnegan, was a part of the Smithsonian Institution’s 1984 exhibition, Newcomb Pottery: An Enterprise for Southern Women, 1895-1940. 

This exhibition, which was organized by the gallery’s own Sally Main, who is also the gallery’s Senior Curator, and in consultation with Newcomb Art Department Emeritus Professor Dr. Jessie Poesch, will also showcase previously stored and rarely seen Newcomb Pottery pieces.  This exhibition will run simultaneously with Voices Inside: The Form and Function of Baskets.

The gallery, and Tulane University as a whole, suffered damage during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  Since then, and with much personal sacrifice, the staff has worked tirelessly to rebuild the gallery and is once again drawing international audiences.  This is a perfect time to make your way to New Orleans.  It’s beautiful this time of year and the city itself offers much culture and character. 

To get you ready for the exhibition, browse through our collection of Newcomb Pottery and if you’d New1 like more information on the Newcomb Pottery Gallery, Tulane University or the exhibition itself, be sure to visit the site at or call 504-314-2406.  Again, this is an event that’s not likely to repeat anytime in the near future, so if at all possible, Newcomb Pottery fans should try to attend.

Another Unexpected Art Pottery Find

Newcomb College vase 8 inches tall 6-04-09 004s Last week, we told you about a valuable Newcomb Pottery vase that was found in a thrift store and sold for more than $3,000.  If you thought it was a fluke, think again.  This week, we received an email from a fellow art pottery collector who also found a rare Newcomb vase where he least expected.  On one of his regular visits to his local thrift store in search of collectibles for his curio cabinet (or as his wife calls it, "another piece of junk"), he found himself in a conversation with some of the other collectors who frequented the same store.  One had just found a treasure in one of the carts.  No one recognized it immediately; however, it was only priced at $4.99, so he figured "why not?"  After all, he could trash those plastic leaves, clean up the vase and add it to his collection.

After he got home, he began his search to discover what exactly he had just invested in.  Before the vase could be called "another piece of junk" by his lovely wife, he found out it was a 1925 Newcomb vase by Anna Frances Simpson!  Even more exciting was the realization of it being thrown by Joseph Meyer.  You may know Joseph Meyer ceased throwing in the mid-1920s.  The vase, which is 8" tall and 5" at its widest, is valued between $2,000 and $3,000!  I could be wrong, but I'm thinking the Mrs. will be Newcomb College vase 8 inches tall 6-04-09 018 accompanying him during his future treasure hunts.

This is another example of how beautiful art is sometimes found in the most unlikely places.  This time, a cart that had just been wheeled out of a thrift store's back warehouse was where this rare Newcomb art pottery was discovered. 

We love hearing these stories so be sure to share yours with us.  You never know who might be inspired by your tale.

Donna McGill – Just Art Pottery


The Top 10 Pottery Searches for August, 2009


Below are the top ten most searched pottery collections for August, 2009.  The searches reveal consistency with few changes.  Clearly, the trends for Roseville are still strong, as it dominates four of the ten spots.

Roseville Pottery- Patterns A-E – Some of the patterns in this group include the incredibly sought-after Roseville Apple Blossom, the delicate Roseville Azurean and the ambitious designs in Roseville Capri.

Roseville Pottery – Patterns F-L – This group includes the Roseville Juvenile and the Roseville Laurel.

Weller Pottery – Beautiful and deep coloring with lean lines define Weller Pottery.  A perfect example that defines the Weller Pottery themes is the Camelot Vase.

Roseville Pottery – Patterns S-Z – Look for the Roseville Savona with its rich gold coloring and the vivid reds that define the Roseville Silhouette.

Roseville Pottery – Patterns M-R – This group has the unique shaped Roseville Pottery Magnolia Brown Cider Pitcher.

Rookwood Pottery – If you've not seen the Rookwood Faience Pottery Pears on a Branch Tile, now's the time.  This exquisite tile measures 10" in height and is 6 ¾" wide. 

Van Briggle Pottery – Known for its many markings, this collection has something for everyone.

McCoy Pottery – Look for any of the McCoy Pottery Vases.  Each is beautiful in its own right.

Newcomb Pottery – The blues and greens set this collection apart.

Fulper Pottery – Elegant and refined are commonly used to describe Fulper Pottery.

Despite the foothold Roseville Pottery maintains, Grueby's arts and crafts style, and the contemporary styles of Ephraim and Door Pottery just missed the Top 10.

Donna McGill

Record Sale Price for Newcomb Pottery Vase reports that on June 27, 2009 Neal Auction obtained a world record price for a 1904 Newcomb-record-vase 2009 Newcomb College high glaze pottery vase. The vase is 13" tall and decorated with incised design of jackmanii climbing clematis in blue, green and yellow underglaze by Maria de Hoa LeBlanc.  The pre-sale estimated price for the vase was between $35,000 to $50,000.  The final selling price including the buyer's premium was an amazing $169,200.  The previous record sale price for a Newcomb College vase was $108,400 in 2006.  

The auction house noted "LeBlanc's vase is an outstanding example of Newcomb pottery for several reasons, including the large size, the unusual and deeply carved climbing clematis motif and a flawless, high-gloss glaze."  Photo from and Neal Auction. 

Read more about the vase at

Greg Myroth
Just Art Pottery

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Newcomb Pottery Marks

Newcomb Pottery Clay Bodies and Glaze Marks

We had a question from a reader regarding the meaning of the various letter marks (B’s and C’s) not Dsc_3131related to registration numbers or date marks found on the bottoms of some transitional period (1910-1915) examples of Newcomb Pottery. Examples of these bottom marks from two Newcomb vases are shown in the photos. 

Accordingly the Walter Bob’s research, which is fully documented in Jessie Poesch’s Newcomb Pottery & Crafts, the B or B in a circle mark represents a buff clay body with a semi-matte glaze. This mark was typically used between 1910 and 1912.  Between 1913 and 1915 the clay body and glaze mark was changed to a C or C within a circle.  Dsc_3152

Between 1895 and 1907, there were several other letter designations used by Newcomb Pottery to identify clay bodies.  Poesch’s Newcomb Pottery & Crafts book provides a full description of the years of use for each of these clay bodies and glaze marks on Newcomb Pottery

Just Art Pottery

Investing in Newcomb Pottery

With the recent record breaking prices and with prime examples routinely selling well into the five figure range, Newcomb pottery ranks among the most sought-after, investment quality art pottery ever produced.  A recent article in Antique Trader reflected on the record setting prices and the long standing investment potential for Newcomb pottery. 

The article quotes David Rago as stating, "For many decades Newcomb pottery has been considered a "blue chip" art pottery." David further indicated in PBS’s  Antiques Roadshow that "the only way Newcomb ware would prove to be a bad investment is either if you were to sell a piece at the wrong time or overpaid for a bad example when you first bought it." Rago goes on to say "Truly, of over 200 period makers of American art pottery, this can be said only of Newcomb pottery".

Below are some tips for investing in Newcomb pottery:

  1. Buy the highest quality piece you can afford.
  2. Buy examples in mint condition without damage or repair whenever possible.
  3. The early high-glazed pieces are considered by most pottery collectors to be the most sought-after.  However, prices for high glazed examples of Newcomb are often well into five figure range and beyond the average collectors/investors price range.
  4. The matte glaze pieces offer a lower price point and solid investment potential and as Rago indicated "the best of either high-glaze or matte Newcomb has been appreciating for nearly 40 years".

Look here for information and photos of Newcomb pottery marks.

Shop for Newcomb pottery

Greg Myroth