Decorator Albert R. Valentien American
Manufacturer Rookwood Pottery Company American
Not on view
The Rookwood Pottery, founded by Maria Longworth Nichols in 1880, became one of the most significant and longest surviving of all American art potteries, remaining in operation until well after World War II. During Rookwood’s early years, Nichols made significant contributions to work in the barbotine manner, a technique of using pigmented slip applied in a painterly fashion under a clear glaze. This large charger illustrates the prevalent taste for Rookwood’s Japan-inspired wares by Albert R. Valentien, one of the pottery’s leading decorators and head of its art department there for over twenty years. The subject manner and composition—a fish mid swim—are typical of Valentien, who executed similar barbotine designs throughout his long career with the pottery. This example is a particularly beautiful version, with a lot detail on the anatomy of the fish and the elaborate rendering of the scales and fins, all in a turn-of the century muted palette under a matte transparent glaze.