On Thursday, June 17, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will proudly conduct its largest ever sale dedicated exclusively to pottery. Curated by Director of Ceramics Riley Humler, the auction is entitled Keramics & Rookwood: American & European Art Pottery and features vases, bowls, pitchers, tableware, lamps, figural works, scenic plaques, and other decorative items. Altogether the sale includes over 400 lots, 218 of which are from the esteemed Rookwood Pottery in Cincinnati, Ohio. Logistical details and bidding instructions are provided below the sale highlights.
Highlights of Keramics & Rookwood: American & European Art Pottery on June 17
Toomey & Co.’s Riley Humler has drawn on years of expertise to curate a wide-ranging auction on June 17 with many stellar examples. The sale is replete with works from Cincinnati’s Rookwood Pottery, many dating to the initial years of the venerable firm. Four pieces by Rookwood founder Maria Longworth Nichols Storer will be on offer, including an early earthenware vase with dragon and bats ($8,000-12,000) and a rare Aesthetic Movement Dull Finish vase with flowering tree, spiders, and a diagonal panel with birds and grasses ($4,000-6,000). Multiple items by Kataro Shirayamadani are in the auction, including a table lamp with carved base with floral decoration and a Tiffany Studios Acorn shade ($8,000-12,000) and a porcelain Yellow Tinted vase with vines ($4,000-6,000). From Carl Schmidt, the sale has an Iris glaze drinks set with pitcher and six cups, a large Iris glaze landscape vase, a Vellum glaze vase with mushrooms, and a Vellum glaze plaque showing Venetian sailing vessels (highest $7,000-9,000). Other important Rookwood designs include: Harriet E. Wilcox ’s Painted Mat vase with Japanese irises ($7,000-9,000); Virginia B. Demarest’s Sea Green glaze vase with carved and electroplated copper seahorses and seaweed ($7,000-9,000); John Dee Wareham's Black Iris glaze vase with dragonflies ($6,000-8,000); Sara Sax’s French Red glaze vase with fuchsias ($5,000-7,000); a trio of scenic landscape plaques from E.T. Hurley (highest $5,000-7,000); Alfred Laurens Brennan’s Spanish water jug with lobster ($5,000-7,000); Arthur Conant’s porcelain vase with white cockatoo in a magnolia tree ($4,000-6,000); and Albert R. Valentien’s Iris glaze vase with thistles ($4,000-6,000).
Other American Art Pottery
American Arts & Crafts pottery also includes two Grueby works of special note: Marie A Seaman’s two-color vase with carved trefoil flowers and overlapping leaves ($15,000-25,000) and Eva Russell’s large vase with carved leaf and flower decoration ($6,000-8,000). From Newcomb College, the sale features Irene Borden Keep’s Narcissus Paperwhites vase ($5,000-7,000) as well as Marie de Hoa LeBlanc’s Iris and Sara Bloom Levy’s Daffodil examples (each $4,000-6,000). Teco vases from W.B. Mundie and Fritz Albert will also be available (higher $3,000-5,000). Two other well rendered forms are Hester Pillsbury’s Hudson scenic vase for Weller Pottery Co. with a pair of white peacocks and a Van Briggle Pottery Climbing Bear earthenware vase with Persian Rose glaze (each $2,000-3,000). In Art Deco ceramics, the auction has an Edgardo Simone Studio vase with four of the nine Muses ($2,000-3,000), Maija Grotell’s vase with potter-at-the-wheel motif ($1,500-2,500), and a Waylande Gregory for Cowan Pottery two-color Burlesque Dancer sculpture ($2,000-3,000).
European Art Pottery
Among the highlights of European art pottery, the auction features Dutch ceramicist and painter Samuel Schellink’s twin handled eggshell porcelain vase with chrysanthemums for Rozenburgh ($4,000-6,000). French pottery is in rich supply with assorted examples up for bid, including Jean-Joseph Carriès’ vase with flared rim ($3,000-5,000), several vases from Pierre-Adrien Dalpayrat (highest $3,000-5,000), and multiple works by Sèvres Manufactory, in particular, an Art Nouveau Pâte Nouvelle de Chevilly vase by Alexandre Sandier ($3,000-5,000). From Germany, the sale has a two-sided octopus “Amphora” vase by Eduard Stellmacher, a Constantin Holzer-Defanti for Rosenthal porcelain Tschaikiun sword dancer figure, and a Meissen porcelain rendering of pioneering American actress and dancer Loie Fuller (each $1,000-2,000).
Bidding with Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Keramics & Rookwood: American & European Art Pottery on Thursday, June 17 will start at 10:00 a.m. CDT. The sale will take place at Toomey & Co. Auctioneers, 818 North Boulevard, Oak Park, Illinois. Given COVID-19, the auction will not be open to the public. Bidders may participate by phone (708-383-5234) or leave absentee bids (firstname.lastname@example.org). The catalog is available online at toomeyco.com and early registration is recommended. Bids may also be placed via two real-time, third-party platforms (LiveAuctioneers and Invaluable). Preview is available virtually and by appointment. Those interested should contact email@example.com to request further condition information or schedule a preview time.
Upcoming Auctions and Consignments
In August, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers will hold two sales: Folk, Outsider & Self-Taught Art on Thursday, August 12 and Modern Design + Post-War & Contemporary Art on Thursday, August 26. Consignments are now invited for these and other upcoming auctions. Photographs of art and design may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for estimates. To learn more about past or future auctions, please visit toomeyco.com.
About Toomey & Co. Auctioneers
Located just west of Chicago in Oak Park, Illinois, Toomey & Co. Auctioneers holds several carefully curated auctions annually with material sourced from six departments: Fine Art, Early 20th Century Design, Modern Design, Fine Furniture & Decorative Arts, Silver & Objects of Vertu, and Fine Jewelry & Timepieces. Recent schedules have presented single-owner and special sales drawn from important estates and private collections.