Van Briggle, Artus, painter and potter, was born at Felicity, Clermont, CO on March 21, 1869, son of Eugene and Martha Arabella (Bryan) Van Briggle. His father was a contractor. After a public school education, he studied art at the Cincinnati Art School and at the Colorossi School, Paris, France. Returning to his native country in 1896, he opened a studio in Cincinnati, and for several years devoted himself to the production of portraits, a number of which were exhibited in the larger cities of the United States. In 1886 Mr. Van Briggle became connected with the Rookwood pottery in Cincinnati and he was employed there for fifteen years, as one of the leading designers. His attention having been attracted to the number and variety of the native clays of Colorado, he conceived the idea of establishing a pottery in that state and in 1901 he went to Colorado Springs and started a business with two assistants. The beauty and unique character of the pieces produced by him occasioned a brisk demand, and he increased the number of assistants to twelve, and incorporated the Van Briggle Pottery Co., of which he was president as well as the director of every department. The processes of manufacture of the Van Briggle wares do not differ essentially from those that obtain in other potteries. The clays, mixed and sifted many times, are worked into the required shape on the wheel or are pressed into form by the hands of the decorator.
The pieces when dried are ready for the first or biscuit firing; the glaze is then applied and a second firing fixes it. By means of moulds made when the articles are first formed, reproductions are obtained, but the completed products vary from one another in color effects. It is the glazes of the Van Briggle pottery that give it its distinction among ceramic wares. The original aim was by means of high temperatures, to impart to the dead glaze the texture and quality characteristic of the old Chinese porcelains, and this has been attained to a remarkable degree. The color is subdued and wide in its range; the shapes are very varied, sometimes copying the antique, sometimes embodying naively original features; while the decorations, adaptations usually of plant and floral forms applied in low relief, range from the conventional to the realistic. Mr. Van Briggle was married at Colorado Springs, Colo., June 12, 1902, to Anne Lawrence, daughter of Silas Wright Gregory of Plattsburg, N.Y., and Oakland, Cal. He died at Colorado Springs, July 4, 1904.
Source: The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography Supplement I. New York, James T. White & Company, 1910.
BooksThe Collector's Encyclopedia of Van Briggle Art Pottery
The Van Briggle Story
Van Briggle Pottery The Early Years (Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center)
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