Masterpieces of Art Pottery


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The Newark Museum began exhibiting art pottery in 1910, just one year after it was founded.

A century later, the Museum boasts one of the most historically important and well-documented art pottery collections in the nation. John Cotton Dana, founding director of the Museum, saw pottery as the ideal way to involve the average museum visitor with art. A vase was functional, but it could also be set on a shelf and appreciated for both its beauty and its craftsmanship.

Masterpieces of Art Pottery, 1880-1930 traces the idea of ceramics as art from the Gilded Age of the 1880s to its evolution into studio pottery by the end of the Roaring Twenties. Stunning examples of American, European and Asian art pottery illustrate the many stylistic and technical developments in art pottery over the span of fifty years.


From the celebrated painterly vases of Rookwood, America’s first “official” art pottery, to the graceful porcelains of Adelaide Robineau from the 1910s and 1920s, Masterpieces of Art Pottery, 1880-1930 includes the best-known names in art pottery. In addition to superb American examples, this broad-ranging survey includes Austrian, English, Danish, French, German, Japanese, Native American and Swedish art pottery, illuminating the differences and the influences within this international movement.

Ulysses Grant Dietz has been the curator of Decorative Arts at the Newark Museum since 1980, and was appointed Senior Curator in 2007. He received his BA in French from Yale University in 1977, and his MA in Early American Culture from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program. Masterpieces of Art Pottery, 1880-1930 was conceived as a companion to the Museum’s 2003 publication, Great Pots: Contemporary Ceramics from Function to Fantasy.

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