American Art Pottery at Auction: 2022 at a Glance
American Art Pottery at Auction: 2022 at a GlanceDecember 14, 2022
by Kate Nixon
In a year where we saw the return of in-person shows and auctions, the auction world continued to see collectors buy ceramic works at a furious pace and surpassed a couple of world records in the process. From Marblehead to Newcomb College, 2022 was another memorable year in the auction world and the American art pottery community.
Newcomb College record broken at Rago Arts and Auctions: In September’s Early 20th Century Design auction at Rago Arts and Auctions, a new world record was set for any Newcomb Pottery work with the sale of an historically important and iconic lamp with a Louisiana Iris design ($100,000 – $125,000) for $262,500. The lamp made its debut in the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and in an article by pottery expert Dr. Martin Eidelberg, the lamp was described in the early 1900s as the following: “It is beautifully wrought, and the lamp is remarkable not only for the originality of the application of beads to lamp shade purposes, but the discovery that Miss Sheerer has made of a material which will properly shade the lamp without emitting the great heat so common in most shades. The lamp is admired by all visitors to Newcomb College.” The lamp re-surfaced in the 1987 exhibition The Art That is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America 1875-1920. The inclusion of glass beads made this lamp a rare and the only known example of its kind, which made it a popular choice for both literature and museum exhibitions. Additionally, Rago Arts and Auction sold a Mazie Teresa Ryan-designedearly and large vase with a cinquefoil design ($10,000-$15,000) for $24,000. Another of Ms. Ryan’s vase sold at Rago’s – an early vase with gladiolus ($14,000-$19,000) sold for $15,000. Meanwhile in Cincinnati, a May 1st auction at Treadway Gallery saw a large Newcomb College vase carved by Henrietta Bailey ($9,000 – $12,000) sell for $11,000 – read about the intriguing story about this vase here. In a September auction at Treadway’s, a Newcomb College vase designed by K.S. Wraight ($7,500-$9,500) in excellent condition sold for $11,000.
The works of Frederick Hurten Rhead: Employed by the Avon Faience company, Weller Pottery onto art director of Roseville Pottery and later to Santa Barbara, California, Frederick Hurten Rhead’s style evolved into what would become his most well-known series of works: the Della Robbia line. A number of Della Robbia works were offered at auction, including an exceptional vase with a Della Robbia design ($35,000-$45,000) appearing in the publication Frederick Hurten Rhead: An English Potter in America. The vase sold for $87,500. A number of other Della Robbia vases sold this year, including a potpourri jar with stylized blossoms ($15,000-$20,000) that sold for $30,000 and a sage colored Della Robbia vase ($5,000-$7,000) featured in Dr. Martin Eidelberg’s From Our Native Clay: Art Pottery from the Collections of the American Ceramic Arts Society that sold for $20,000. In 2022, Rago Arts and Auction Center additionally broke the record for any Frederick Hurten Rhead vessel when a vase Rhead made during his time at Arequipa Pottery ($35,000-$45,000) sold for $200,000. Decorated with five colors of glaze, the Rhead vase was the best example found yet.
Magic of Marblehead: a top selling vase originating from the collection of Edith Anna Parker Goldthwait, sold for $250,000. Edith, whose brother-in-law Dr. Joel Ernest Goldthwait allowed Marblehead pottery’s founder, Dr. Herbert Hall, to use their family’s mansion in the Devereaux section of Marblehead, purchased, or was gifted, this pottery collection, which has remained in her family for three generations. The top selling vase was featured in Keramic Studio 11, Beauty in Common Things: American Arts & Crafts Pottery from The Two Red Roses Foundation, The Art That is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America. Additionally, a rare Marblehead vase with conventionalized roses ($30,000-$40,000) which may have been influenced by the Charles Rennie Mackintosh rose, sold for $32,500.
Top Selling Ceramic Works for 2022
Mary Sheerer for Newcomb College Pottery Important lamp with Louisiana Irises
glazed earthenware, patinated metal, beaded shade21 h × 14¾ dia in (53 × 37 cm)
literature:Newcomb Pottery, manufacturer’s catalog, unpaginated Newcomb Pottery: An Enterprise for Southern Women, 1895-1940, Poesch, pg. 43, pl. 18 The Art That is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America 1875-1920, Kaplan, pg. 36 The Arts & Crafts of Newcomb Pottery, Conradsen et. al. , pg. 155, fig. 6 illustrate this example.
Sold for $250,000
Sold May 12, 2022
USA, c. 1909
8.75 h × 7 dia in (22 × 18 cm)
The present lot is one of only a few known examples.
Impressed manufacturer’s mark to underside ‘MP’ with ship symbol. Incised artist’s initials to underside ‘AT’.
Provenance: Collection of Edith Anna Parker Goldthwait, Marblehead | Thence by descent
Literature: Keramic Studio 11, June 1909, pg. 40 Beauty in Common Things: American Arts & Crafts Pottery from The Two Red Roses Foundation, Clancy and Eidelberg, pg. 88 The Art That is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America 1875-1920, Kaplan, ppg. 256-257
Frederick Hurten Rhead for Arequipa Pottery
Sold May 12, 2022
Sold for: $160,000
glazed squeezebag-decorated earthenware
7.5 h × 5 dia in (19 × 13 cm)
Glazed manufacturer’s mark, number and date to underside ‘488 1912 AC’ with pot under tree.
Teco Pottery Table Lamp
Estimate: 30,000 – 50,000
Lot sold: 75,600
base designed by William B. Mundie; model no. 271
shade designed by Orlando Giannini; executed by Giannini and Hilgart, Chicago, Illinois
leaded glass, patinated bronze, glazed earthenware
base impressed TECO three times and 271
canister impressed 271
17 in. (43.2 cm) high
10⅞ in. (27.6 cm) diameter of shade
Literature: Wendy Kaplan, “The Art that is Life”: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920, exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1987, p. 388 (for the present lot illustrated)
Exhibited: “The Art that is Life”: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, March 4-May 31, 1987; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, August 16-November 1, 1987; The Detroit Institute of Arts, December 9, 1987-February 28, 1988; Cooper Hewitt Museum, New York, April 5-June 26, 1988
Frederick Hurten Rhead for Rhead Pottery (Santa Barbara)
Exceptional vase with Della Robbia-style design
Sold for $87,500
Sold Sep 22, 2022
glazed and carved earthenware
6.5 h × 4.5 dia in (17 × 11 cm)
Impressed manufacturer’s mark to underside ‘Santa Barbara Pottery’.
Provenance: Important Private Collection, New York
Literature: Frederick Hurten Rhead: An English Potter in America, Dale, pg. 99
Russell Crook for Grueby, Rare tile
Sold for $40,000
USA, c. 1900
11.75 h × 26.75 w in (30 × 68 cm)
Provenance: Important Private Collection, New York
Literature: The Ceramics of William H. Grueby, Montgomery, pg. 60 “Grueby’s Jungle Book Tiles,” Montgomery, Journal of the American Art Pottery Association, Vol. 29, ppg. 6-7