Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes

4.23.2010

The Blues

[Detail, 1930s vase from Thomas K. Libby.]

To follow up on the Newcomb Pottery post, I thought it would be interesting to look for pieces by Sophie Newcomb alumnae who had careers in art apart from their involvement with the Pottery (1894 -1940).  Right off the bat, I stumbled upon Mary Yancey Hodgdon in a few databases.


I don't have enough sources to write this in stone yet, but it appears she was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1902,  attended Sophie Newcomb, and eventually settled in California as a teacher and artist. Thomas K. Libby currently has one of Hodgdon's 1930s vases in a striking 'Egyptian blue' crackle glaze. On my computer screen, the shade is nearly identical to the blue of the Met's Isis seen in this past post.

[Statuette of Isis and Horus, Macedonian and Ptolemaic Period, 332–30 B.C., Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1955, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.]

It's also close to the Met's Middle Kingdom Hippopotamus molded in faience.

Although I'm probably most partial to Chinese ceramics, I tend to appreciate all sorts of vases from many different periods -- even eras that in general don't rock my world.

[Photo by Coleen Rider for Balustrade and Bitters, styling by Oliver M. Furth and Holli Thomas.]

So, after noticing how Oliver M. Furth and Holli Thomas styled a host of vintage vessels (slideshow here), I'd love to see what unexpected take they might have on this blue-green 1920s Newcomb Pottery vase decorated by Sadie Irvine

[1920s Newcomb Pottery vase from Revival Antiques.]

Here, the low, rounded form seems well-suited to Newcomb's signature Louisiana-inspired design motif, stylized Spanish moss. On a site put together by the Newcomb College Center for Research on Women, there is a funny quote from Sadie about how that moss fit with the taller vessels: 

"I have surely lived to regret it," she said many years later. "Our beautiful moss draped oak trees appealed to the buying public but nothing is less suited to the tall graceful vases -- no way to convey the true character of the tree. And oh, how boring it was to use the same motif over and over though each one was a fresh drawing..."


While I'm thinking about art education in the South, here's a little reminder: SCAD Style 2010 starts April 26. In the previous posts there are mentions of specific events but be sure to check the master schedule here.

6 comments:

lisa golightly said...

Just gorgeous colors. I love the crazing. Lovely blog ! xo lisa

Karena said...

Courtney, thank you for the follow up....love these pieces!!

Karena
Art by Karena

little augury said...

gorgeous- a saturated colour I can never get enough of. and it is the colour of the year. pgt

Emile de Bruijn said...

That Hodgdon vase is great: Art Deco stylisation but also a wabi-like roughness of texture.

And the Spanish moss is a wonderful regional motif to use on ceramics, to ground the work in a locality.

Gramercy Home said...

What a great couple of posts on Newcomb Pottery and alumns...I went to Tulane and actually took a pottery class - mine looked NOTHING like these beauties. I certainly appreciate the skill and talent!

Janet said...

Oh, the blues...not such a bad thing to have!