Rare August Peyrau (New York City, c1883) Pipe Bowl depicting Peter Cooper

March 25, 2017 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 206

Price Realized: $708.00

($600 hammer, plus 18% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 6 years old, and the American ceramics market frequently changes. Additionally, small nuances of color, condition, shape, etc. can mean huge differences in price. If you're interested in having us sell a similar item for you, please contact us here.

March 25, 2017 Auction Catalog

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Rare Terracotta Pipe Bowl Depicting Peter Cooper, August Peyrau, New York, NY, circa 1883, finely-modeled in the likeness of American philanthropist, industrialist, and presidential candidate, Peter Cooper (1791-1883). Cooper, a New York City native, was known for developing the first American steam locomotive, the Tom Thumb. Pipe bowl includes incised details to facial hair and eyebrows. Impressed "5" along with a number of other illegible marks on underside. Literature: Peyrau's caricature pipes are discussed and illustrated in Barber, Edwin Atlee, The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States, G.P. Putnam Son's, New York and London, 1893, p. 341, and are present in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum and--at least at one time--the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Peyrau was seen in his day as a visionary, with one contemporary writing, "August Peyrau ... has ... reproduced in red clay or terra cotta caricature heads of [famous people, etc.]. For a time they were on sale in New York City, but more recently they have disappeared from show windows of the tobacconists, and with them their interesting maker. Peyrau was a Frenchman who gave up a prosperous business to return to his native village in the South of France, but on arriving there he found a new generation in existence and his old friends gone. After a few months he wearied of the place, and then came back to his adopted country. Times were hard and it was not easy to start in business again. So he supported himself for a time by modeling his caricature pipe heads, and now he has disappeared again. In the years to come when his pipes will sell for dollars instead of cents, who will remember their maker?" We are unaware of any examples of Peyrau's work coming to auction over the last many years. Loss to opening, which connects to stem. A 1/2" rim chip. L 2 1/2".

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