Van Briggle Pottery Colorado Springs
Artus Van Briggle and Anne Gregory were both accomplished artists studying at the Academie Julian in Paris in the early 1890s when they met and fell in love. Artus was enamored of a lost pottery form of matte glaze from the Chinese Ming Dynasty, and began a pursuit to recreate the ancient Chinese process.
When he came back to the United States from France, he returned briefly to Rockwood Pottery in Cincinnati. Because of his deepening health issues with tuberculosis, Artus left Ohio in 1899 and moved to Downtown Colorado Springs because there was a large tubercular population here. It was believed at the time that altitude and dry air were a cure for this disease.
When he got here, he pursued his passion of the Art Nouveau movement. He also spent the following two years experimenting and perfecting the lost Chinese matte glaze finish with which he was so fascinated. By 1901, having discovered the secret of the glaze, Anne joined an ill Artus and became a high school art teacher, and they began Van Briggle Pottery. They were married the following year.
Van Briggle was appointed Director of the Department of Art and Design at Colorado College in 1903, a prestigious position that recognized his acclaimed artistry. From the time of its inception, Van Briggle Pottery was a joint effort of Artus and Anne, during which time they designed and created hundreds of Art Nouveau styles of pottery. Then and now, the most famous Van Briggle piece was called Despondency, a ‘self-portrait’ by Artus which helped to establish international fame for the Van Briggles.
In 1904, Artus died at the age of 35. Anne continued with the work of their joint efforts until she remarried in 1908. Most Van Briggle pieces were signed with a distinctive logo that is a pair of co-joined A’s (Artus and Anne) inside of a box. Pieces made prior to the 1920s are considered the most valuable and the most collectible.
Shortly after that, she leased the property out and moved to Denver where she remained an artist. Van Briggle Pottery continued to be in business throughout wars and disasters. In early Colorado Springs homes, fireplaces were often surrounded with Van Briggle tiles, and bring a lot of attention and value if they are genuine. Still a name of distinction and prestige, Van Briggle’s current owners will be more than happy to try to help you establish the authenticity of the tiles in your home.
Within the last few years, they have moved their facilities from Old Colorado City to Downtown Colorado Springs to a beautiful new location at 1024 South Tejon. If you are in the area of South Tejon near I-25, be sure to stop in and find not only some beautiful artwork, but also the fascinating (albeit brief) history of the Van Briggles.