Highly Important Absalom Bixler (Lancaster County, PA) Redware Flowerpot w/ Applied Cat and Bird Motif, "READY FOR A CATCH"


Spring 2022 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 1

Price Realized: $78,000.00

($65,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  This result is 2 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.

Auction Highlight:  Greatest Hits | Spring 2022 Auction | Pennsylvania Redware

Spring 2022 Auction Catalog

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Highly Important Large-Sized Redware Presentation Flowerpot with Applied Decoration of a Cat Chasing a Bird, Impressed "READY FOR A CATCH," Absalom Bixler, Earl Township, Lancaster County, PA, circa 1850, tapered flowerpot with rounded rim, decorated with an elaborate hand-modeled, applied, and incised design of a cat chasing a bird perched on a leafy branch, with highly unusual cobalt highlights to the branch and cobalt striping to the cat. Impressed to right of decoration with the words, "READY / FOR / A / CATCH." Surface covered in a clear lead glaze. This flowerpot typifies the exuberance of the Pennsylvania-German style in its hand-modeled sculpture of a cat ready to pounce on a bird perched on a branch. Along with a group of related pieces, it was made by Bixler for his wife, Sarah, to commemorate their courtship roughly twenty-six years earlier. Its remarkable state of preservation indicates it was sparingly used and its exceptionally large size sets it apart as one of Bixler's finest surviving works. Two clays were involved in its production: a white clay to produce the bird and branch and a typical iron-rich, "redware" clay to produce the pot and the cat. The bird, when fired under a clear lead glaze, assumes a bright-yellow color. The cobalt decoration to the branch and leaves achieves a greenish coloration when glazed and fired over this light clay. This same cobalt decoration turns a variegated, opaque blue when glazed and fired on the body of the red-clayed cat. Bixler's innovative idea to use two different clays on the same piece results in a particularly striking contrast of colors. Exceptional in size, glaze, and subject matter, this flowerpot ranks among the very best examples of American redware that we have ever offered and a masterwork of the form. Few pieces of American redware of this quality exist outside of museum collections. Literature: Featured on the cover of The Magazine Antiques, September 1982. Provenance: From a recently surfaced CA collection. Excellent condition with a 3 3/4" hairline to side of rim, wear to cat's ears, and other very minor wear to applied decoration. Dimensions: 10 1/4" x 10 1/4".

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