Exceptional N. CLARK & CO. / ROCHESTER, NY Stoneware Jar w/ Elaborate Deer Scene

Spring 2023 Stoneware Auction

Lot #: 4

Price Realized: $72,000.00

($60,000 hammer, plus 20% buyer's premium)

PLEASE NOTE:  The American ceramics market frequently changes, often dramatically. 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.

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Spring 2023 Auction Catalog

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Exceptional Four-Gallon Stoneware Jar with Cobalt Deer Scene, Stamped "N. CLARK & Co / ROCHESTER, N.Y. / ROCHESTER, N.Y.," John Burger at the Nathan Clark Pottery, Rochester, NY, circa 1839-1851, wide-mouthed, semi-ovoid jar with tooled shoulder, squared rim, and applied lug handles, decorated with a slip-trailed design of a deer with raised head and heavily-spotted body, standing between a pine tree and another tree with heavily-shrubbed ground below. Additional plants emanate from the base of each tree. Slip-trailed "4." to shoulder. Cobalt highlights to maker's mark. This recently-surfaced work features outstanding coverage of the design across the vessel's front. The form, fairly wide for its relatively short height, is unusual, as is the upward pointing attitude of the deer's head, as if the animal is sniffing the air. Deer motifs are regarded as some of the most prized and iconic of all 19th century American stoneware decorations. This example features a particularly elaborate and painterly rendering of the animal by John Burger, now regarded as the greatest stoneware decorator of 19th century America. It was made while he was a partial owner of Clark's Rochester pottery, denoted by the "Co." in "N. Clark & Co."- before his partnership with Thompson Harrington and eventual ownership of the concern. The decoration on this jar is representative of the earliest slip-trailed deer designs in all of American stoneware, likely inspiring various New York State ceramic artists as well as the itinerant decorator, John Hilfinger, who would take his own variant of this motif to the Norton pottery of Bennington, Vermont, around 1855. Burger, an immigrant potter from Alsace Lorraine, France, showcased his abilities during this early period, and it was during this time that some of the very best slip-trailed figural designs in all of American stoneware were executed. (The five-gallon churn with phoenix bird decoration, for example, lot 181 in Crocker Farm's Fall 2022 auction, also bore the "N. Clark & Co." mark.) The artistic quality of this work, size of the design, and its maker rank it as one of the finest examples of deer-decorated stoneware that we have ever offered. Excellent condition with an approximately 3 7/8" x 3" faint X-shaped line on reverse. Provenance: Recently-surfaced in Missouri. H 11 1/2" ; Diam. (across top) 12 1/8".

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