Biloxi Art Pottery Vase


About the Arts and Crafts Movement:

Beginning in England in the early 1880s, the Arts and Crafts movement spread across the United States and Europe by the late 1880s. It celebrated the importance of beauty in everyday objects and urged a reconnection to nearby nature. The movement resisted the way industrial mass production undermined artisan crafts, inspired by the ideas of artisan William Morris and writer John Ruskin. Valuing hand-made objects using traditional materials, it was known for a color palette of earth tones. Its artistic principles replaced realistic, colorful, and three-dimensional designs with more abstract and simplified forms using subdued tones. Stylized plant forms and matte glazes echoed a shift to quiet restraint in household décor. The Arts and Crafts movement also embraced social ideals, including respect for skilled hand labor and concern for the quality of producers’ lives. The movement struggled with the tension between the cost of beautiful crafts and the limited number of households able to afford them. Some potters relied on practical products such as drain tiles to boost income or supported themselves with teaching or publications. Arts and Crafts influence extended to other endeavors, including furniture, such as Stickley’s Mission Style, and architecture, such as the Arts and Crafts bungalow, built widely across the United States. American Arts and Crafts pottery flourished between 1880 and the first World War, though several potteries continued in successful operation into the later 20th century.

About Biloxi Art Pottery:

George E. Ohr learned to throw pottery from Joseph E. Meyer in New Orleans and then toured sixteen states to see other potteries’ techniques. Returning to his hometown of Biloxi, Mississippi, he built the Biloxi Art Pottery in 1883. His prodigious output was exhibited at fairs and in his shop, but sales were never strong. Ohr’s work was controversial for its twisted, folded, and crinkled shapes, but critics lauded his creative glazes. Each hand-thrown piece is unique in shape and decoration. He is considered perhaps the most expert clay thrower of the craft, achieving eggshell-thin pieces as well as objects ranging in size from small toys to the size of a person (Evans 1987:29). For a period in the 1890s, Orr returned to New Orleans to throw, glaze, and fire the pottery that was decorated by the women of Newcomb College (see About the Newcomb Pottery). That position lasted until 1898, when Ohr returned to Biloxi. He ceased work around 1909 and died in 1918. Though his work was not well appreciated in his lifetime, it has become sought-after and valuable with time, as he predicted.

(Evans, Paul, 1987. Art Pottery of the United States. New York: Feingold and Lewis Publishing Corp.)

About the Object:

Shape reminiscent of hour glass with elongated waist; large round opening at top. The two handles are S-shaped with a small inner circle. A relief reptile-like creature is horizontally attached to lower portion of vase across front. The glaze is a deep rose semi-matte, with olive blotches at the top, deep green at bottom, and on relief creature.

Date Made: late 19th c. - early 20th c.

Maker: Ohr, George E.Biloxi Art Pottery

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: Mississippi, BiloxiUnited States: Mississippi, Biloxi, Biloxi Art Pottery

Subject: Art Pottery


See more items in: Home and Community Life: Ceramics and Glass


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of James W. and Miriam Carpenter

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: CE.78.9Catalog Number: 78.9Accession Number: 1978.0104

Object Name: vase

Physical Description: monochrome, green (overall surface decoration color name)ceramic, earthenware, coarse (overall material)Measurements: overall: 7 7/8 in x 5 1/2 in; 20.0025 cm x 13.97 cm


Record Id: nmah_575692

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