designed about 1906, made about 1906-20
Designed by Addison B. LeBoutillier (Born in France, 1872–1951), Manufactured by Grueby Faience Company (active 1894–1909), Or Grueby Faience and Tile Company (active 1909–1919)
Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts
2.54 x 31.11 x 31.11 cm (1 x 12 1/4 x 12 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Pressed and glazed earthenware
Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery (Gallery 222)
Ceramics innovator William H. Grueby’s style of “organic naturalism” transformed the direction of art pottery in the United States and abroad. His vegetal forms are articulated by subtle tooling and finished with opaque, dripping glazes that blurred the line between form and surface decoration. Although best known today for three-dimensional forms, Grueby began his career making architectural tiles. Tiles remained the foundation of his company’s production, and a new line of interior Arts and Crafts-inspired decorative tiles introduced about 1902 reinvigorated the company’s flagging sales. Grueby’s new designer, illustrator Addison B. LeBoutillier, created the line using flat, stylized designs of flowers, trees, animals, and ships that reduced the image to abstract pattern.
This large tile is adapted from an eight-tile frieze LeBoutillier designed in 1906 called “The Pines.” Using an ancient Moorish process, the clay was impressed with the design, forming channels with low walls that kept Grueby’s characteristic thick glazes separate. The tile combines LeBoutillier’s drafting skills with Grueby’s variety of color tone and texture, resulting in a stylized scene with a soft surface that typifies the best works of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
This text was adapted from Ward, et al., MFA Highlights: American Decorative Arts & Sculpture (Boston, 2006) available at www.mfashop.com/mfa-publications.html.
Anonymous gift in memory of John G. Pierce, 1965.
Anonymous gift in memory of John G. Pierce