I think I’ve started a new collecting quest (which is not something I need or should do). Recently, when I was at the Golden Nugget Flea Market, in Lambertville, New Jersey, I purchased my first piece of Rookwood Pottery. What attracted me to this vase was the soft green glaze (the pictures don’t do the color justice), and the leaping gazelles and stylized flora motifs, which are typical of the Art Deco esthetic.
The Judith Miller Collector’s Guide to Art Deco, gives the best concise description of the background of the company, which I have excerpted below –
“The largest manufacturer of art pottery in the United States, Rookwood made its name with Arts and Crafts ware. Its Art Deco production, however, also presents interesting opportunities for the modern collector.
Maria Longworth Nichols, who grew up in a wealthy Cincinnati family, founded Rookwood in 1880. She was devoted to ceramics, Japonisme, and the Arts and Crafts ethic from an early age and employed the finest artists from Europe, the United States and Japan. By the start of World War I, Rookwood was thriving, with an extensive range of useful and ornamental ware, most made in the shiny Standard Glaze introduced in 1883.
Rookwood began to decline in both prosperity and output in the 1920’s – the firm suffered considerably during the depression years, eventually going into receuvership in 1941. As a result, Rookwood’s Art Deco was made during the company’s leanest years. Much of it is simple, economical design and manufacture. Typical examples include small slip-cast vases in pleasing shapes glazed in monochrome matt green, blue or pink, or cast bookends, paperweights and other desk accessories in similar glazes, which may be mottled by the late 1940s.”
* DK Collector’s Guides, Art Deco Judith Miller with Nicholas M. Dawes, 2005 DK and the Price Guide Company, Pg. 142.
This vase is typical of the production pieces that Rookwood was selling in the 1930’s and it is not considered “Art Pottery” by some ceramic and pottery experts and dealers, because it is not hand turned and hand painted. Even so, Rookwood’s “lesser” pieces are fine quality and were originally sold in the better department stores or specialty shops. Even though the date on this vase is 1932, this vase was in production until the mid-1940’s.
The dealer had a $75.00 price tag on this vase, but he came down to $60.00, which is a really good price, as I’ve seen this vase sell on line for more than $100.00. Now I’m worried about how much Rookwood I’ll see up at Brimfield next month. I’ll keep you posted.
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